Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tour de Lights recap

We had about 200 dedicated people show up to spite the rain. You could tell they had spent hours on their costumes and decorations! It warmed my heart to see everyone there (but my feet were still cold...) Congrats to all our winners, thanks to KPD, the judges and our volunteers!

More photos are available in various albums on facebook, linked from

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tour de Lights date change

Due to the rain forecasted for Thursday, we have rescheduled Tour de Lights to next Tuesday, December 21. Everything will happen at the same time as planned.

Let's hope the current forecast for a sunny day in the 40s on Tuesday holds!

And, hey, this gives you another weekend to get battery-powered LED lights and put them on your bike, helmet, and/or trailer!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Upcoming meeting and ribbon cutting

Oak Ridge Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan meeting
A draft of the Bicylce Pedestrian Master Plan will be presented at a public meeting on December 7th at the Civic Center A/B Room at 6 p.m. The draft plan is available on the City's website ( for public review before the meeting.

Jean Teague Greenway extension ribbon cutting
This 0.4-mile piece has been the "missing link" of a continuous greenway system that goes from West Hills Elementary to the Carmike Wynnsong Theater in Cedar Bluff. The connection includes Ten Mile Creek, Jean Teague, and Cavet Station greenways.

When: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.

Where: The ribbon cutting will be held at the greenway extension's entrance, located in the parking lot of the West End Church of Christ, located at 8301 E. Walker Springs Rd.

Kathleen Gibi
Public Affairs Specialist
City of Knoxville Parks & Recreation(o) 865-215-2946(f)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Bike KNX

With so many people squeezed into the upstairs of Barley's and the pizza coming out of the ovens, it just didn't turn out to be the right forum for a presentation. So I'd like to share what I was going to say on Sunday evening.

So you probably heard that we were named a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Bronze level. We got Honorable Mention two times before finally getting an actual metal. And yes, I have heard the laughter when someone hears that we got this award. So what is this award about anyway?

The League of American Bicyclists is a national advocacy organization (they used to be the League of American Wheelmen and they helped get roads paved for bicyclists). The BFC program started in 1996. Levels go from Bronze to Platinum. (I had a list of all the cities who have gotten an award as well as our own application.) Prospective Bicycle Friendly Communities are judged in five categories: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning. A community must demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories to get an award. Applications are reviewed by staff and external reviewers and they get feedback from local cyclists and advocates. There are questions like: do you provide training for local engineers (and our answer is yes, we regularly host relevant webinars, and there have been two seminars in the past 5 years where engineers come for an entire day, all about bicycle facility design.) What have we done in the past 18 months to educate motorists and bicyclists on sharing the road, how do we promote bike month, what mapping info is available, how many people bike to work? The application is 19 pages long with small print, and there are 87 questions.

So what have we done to get this award? For those of you who only recently got involved with the Bicycle Program’s efforts, let me give you a quick background. In 2001, a few bicycle advocates convinced the TPO to start a Bicycle Advisory Committee. When I started working for the TPO in July of that year, we got to work quickly on a comprehensive bicycle plan covering the five E’s—engineering, enforcement, education, encouragement and evaluation. While many people thought that a bicycle plan should just be a map of desired facilities, we knew that it takes much more than bike lanes to make a great bicycling community.

There are too many great projects and programs to cover. So here are just a few of the highlights that I think helped us get Bronze:

--The Neighborhood Bike Ride turned 10 this year. Tina Rosling couldn’t be here today but it was her idea and I will admit to not believing anyone would want to come on a short ride of nearby neighborhoods when she suggested it. But 125 people showed up that first year! Tour de Lights is celebrating it’s 4th year next month. I still can’t believe we had 455 people last year and expect even more this time. People apparently love to decorate their bikes and come in costume!

I think an indicator of a bike community is not just what the government does but the organic rides -- the alley cats, the Freedom Thighs, the New years rides…I’d like to thank everyone who organizes those events.

--we have provided more than 400 bike racks throughout the region at just 20% of the cost with a grant program.

--we have conducted training on bicycle issues for all enforcement officers in Knoxville, Knox County, Maryville, Alcoa and Blount County.

--due to tremendous efforts by more than 10 volunteers, especially Mike and Paige Winck, we are presenting to all high school drivers ed classes in Knox County on sharing the road with bicyclists, every semester.

-- Knoxville is about to have three signed destination-based bike routes. That means the routes go from point A to point B and the signs actually tell you where you are heading, like UT, downtown, West Hills etc. The signs will be installed soon. The routes have been on our website for years with cue sheets and maps, but it’s much easier to follow signs than hold a cue sheet while you’re biking!

--we’ve offered bike classes on riding in traffic since 2006. We have 12 certified instructors and are increasing our efforts at getting the word out about the classes for 2011. We also held two kids bike rodeos last spring and had more than 150 kids complete the courses.

--we have been conducting bicycle counts since 2005, mostly in the center city, and have seen a tripling in the past 5 years. And to add credence to those counts, recent Census data shows that Knoxville’s bike commuting rate doubled between 2008 and 2009, and is now running at twice the national average.

--the complaint I hear most often is about hostile motorists. It’s very difficult to get a message across to the general public, but we have developed a campaign called “I Bike”—you can see the banner over there featuring Sherry Wiles, a local bicyclist. The message is that bicyclists are people--your neighbors and your co-workers—so please be careful. There are tips for sharing the road as well. The second banner features Linda Gray, who is also on our advisory committee. These have been on display at West Town Mall and the Regal Pinnacle, Regal Riveria and Kroger in Fountain City. If you have ideas for where else they can be displayed, let us know! (We’ve been turned down by many places, but are still searching.)

--our most recent accomplishment is the Bicycling Ambassadors program, which uses volunteers to do outreach and education to bicyclists and motorists about sharing the road and greenways safely. We’ve got our booth set up right here and would be very happy for you to visit it and get your burning questions answered.

So what is next? We got Bronze after applying three times. Chattanooga has had Bronze since 2003 and is working toward Silver. I would like to beat them to Silver…how about you?

We can’t do it without your help. Please let me know if you want to volunteer!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Bike KNX party photos

We had more than 240 people turn out yesterday for the party at Barley's! Thanks to all the volunteers for making it possible, as well as our sponsors: Knox Revolution, KnoxVelo, EdgeReg and Borderland Tees.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ijams biking opportunities

Come explore Knoxville's newest multi-use trails at Ross Marble Natural Area, Mead's Quarry and the Greenway Trails.
Where:Rent bikes at Mead's Quarry
When:Saturdays in November
10:00am - 12:00pm
12:00pm - 2:00pm
2:00pm - 4:00pm

Reservations:Call River Sports to reserve a bike @ Tel: 865-523-0066
Bike Rental Rates: $20 for 2 hours, $35 all day.
Portion of proceeds benefit Ijams.

Discount for Ijams members with current membership card.

Check out our new trail map detailing Mead's Quarry and Ross Marble Natural Area. Multi-use trails are highlighted in orange.

Do I have to reserve a bike?
No, if there are bikes available, we’ll be happy to rent on the spot.

What kind of riding will there be?
There are both off-trail and paved greenway options. It’s good for both beginners and those with a little experience.

Group Ride on Saturdays in November!
Meet at 8:30 for a FREE beginners guided mountain bike ride.
Ride will last about 1.5 hours. Bike rentals available for the ride, call to reserve.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I Bike KNX

Join the celebration of Knoxville's designation as a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community, and learn how you can help in our race to beat Chattanooga to Silver level!

Sunday, November 14
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria
4 - 6 p.m.
$5 suggested donation covers appetizers, pizza and soft drinks

Great door prizes at 4:30 p.m., pizza at 5 p.m.

Thanks to our sponsors, Edgereg, Knox Revolution, KnoxVelo and Borderland Tees who will donate $1 to the Bicycle Program* for each attendee so bring all your family and friends!

Please RSVP at

Join us for a bike ride before the party! Three rides to choose from:

Cedar Bluff area to the party
2:45 p.m.
Start at Ten Mile Creek trailhead at Carmike Wynnsong (off N Peters Rd)
3:15 p.m.
Pick-up point at Third Creek Greenway trailhead on Forest Park Blvd (Earth Fare shopping center)
End at Barley’s around 4:15 pm
Beginner bicyclists welcome.
Approx. 12 miles one way.

7 mile loop ride to Ijams Nature Center
2:30 p.m.
start and end at Barley's
Beginners and families welcome for this casual paced ride, led by Knox Revolution

50-mile loop ride
1:00 p.m.
Start & end: Barley’s
This ride follows the route of the Barley's Autumn Classic

For more info,

*Bicycle Program funds go toward awareness campaigns, Bicycling Ambassadors program, and local match for bike racks.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Neighborhood Bike Ride ponderings

We had 50 people respond to the post-bike ride survey. The overview of the results is here

We had many comments and I wanted to offer a response to some of them. First of all, thanks for all the positive ones! We are glad you had fun and we did, too!

Several people, as they do every year, wonder why we can't do these rides more often. There are a few different reasons. One is that I don't think people grasp how much effort goes into this one ride. It may seem simple to pull off, but it's a lot of work. We have some great volunteers but they have full-time jobs so it would be impossible to ask them to do something every month. Another reason is that we tried having monthly rides for two summers (remember the Knoxville By Cycle series?). It was fun, but a lot of work, and we only had about 30 - 60 people each month. The Bicycle Advisory Committee discussed it, and considering the amount of effort it took to do the series, we decided to concentrate on the two rides that got the most turn-out. So we have the NBR and the Tour de Lights. We love having big events, but we are working on a lot of other programs and projects to make bicycling safer and better in our community, so we need to be sure we leave time and energy to work on those as well. See for more info on our other efforts.

We had a comment or two about the location this year. Someone said we should pick a less busy date so that we could go back to downtown. Maybe they don't realize this, but there is not a less busy option on Saturday anymore! Farmers' Market takes up Market Square and Market Street, which is terrific, but meant we were pushed down to the block between Clinch and Church. In addition to Farmers Market, there were several other downtown events going on that morning because it was an away game weekend. Many people do drive to the ride's start, and it's difficult for them to get themselves, their kids and their bikes/trailers from the parking garages or parking spaces through all the crowds and booths to where we are. We cannot have the ride on a home game weekend because we need KPD support and they are slightly busy on home game days. That's why all the other events happen on away game weekends as well. I really did think that Happy Hollerpalooza would have been more obvious by the time we got back to the start location so that people would have stuck around and joined in the fun. But one reason everyone took off immediately after the ride could have been that they were scheduled for one of the many other activities going on that day!

No one really complained about missing the after-ride pizza, other than wishing for something to get people to stay and socialize. I'll just say that the reasoning behind not having pizza was not wanting to step on toes of the businessnes in the vicinity by offering free lunch instead of urging people to patronize them. That's why we came up with the discount card idea.

Another comment was that we should have an optional longer route. We tried this in the past and it didn't work very well. The main point is that there are many, many bike rides to choose from that are more than 10 - 15 miles long. We were trying to have a ride friendly to casual bicyclists, which is really rare. The point is to have a large group of bicyclists out seeing parts of the city they don't usually see, be together on the roads to send a message to the public that there is support for bicycling, and have fun. If bike clubs want to have a longer ride after ours as an option, they are more than welcome to. When we decided to drop the summer ride series, I invited the clubs to take over, but that hasn't happened. That's a pretty good indication to me that they recognize the amount of effort it takes to make these events happen.

After 10 years, we have done the routes from downtown several times, so one idea for upcoming years would be to start in a different part of the city and be able to see different neighborhoods that we could never reach from downtown. What does everyone think about that?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We just heard about Bill, who lost more than 65 pounds by getting on a bicycle! In his own words:

My bicycle was purchased and "stored in the garage" for three years. Following a negative doctor's visit, I decided changes had to be made. No magic pill, ointment, or procedure...I just decided to do what I've heard countless times: "Eat right, and exercise." I fell in love with biking while visiting area neighborhood parks & trails. Each trail offers its own spin to my healthier lifestyle. What I enjoy about biking is that it continues to challenge as I mature as a biker. Hills are no longer barriers, but challenges! My speed, endurance, and drive to maintain is constantly growing with each turn of the pedal.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Neighborhood Bike Ride photos

Old North
Happy Holler
The home stretch:
Leaving the rest stop:

The starting line up!
Thanks to Jim Hagerman and Luke Grieve for great photos!

Bicycle Friendly Community sign unveiled!

Mayor Bill Haslam helped unveil a sign announcing that Knoxville is a "Bicycle Friendly Community" and officially accepted that designation from the League of American Bicyclists during a Tuesday morning ceremony in Tyson Park. Haslam joined Mike Nix, a member of the League's Board of Directors, and Kelley Segars, with the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization, to unveil the sign from the bicycling group that that will be posted in the city. Segars and the TPO led the city's effort to earn the hard-to-get recognition. Cities earn the designation by taking steps - in areas ranging from engineering and education to enforcement, encouragement and evaluation - to welcome bicyclists by providing a safe environment for riders and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation. Haslam said Knoxville has made significant efforts to encourage people to ride and to increase bicycling opportunities in recent years and is committed to continuing those efforts in the future.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bicycle Friendly Community award ceremony

Mayor Haslam will be accepting Knoxville's Bicycle Friendly Community award at a ceremony along the Third Creek Greenway in Tyson Park on Tuesday, October 5th at 11 a.m. This award will be presented by League of American Bicyclists' board member Mike Nix. Everyone is invited to attend! Attendees will get a sneak peek at a new bicycle awareness program as well. More details to come, so check back here soon.

For those of you who had not heard, here is the press release about Knoxville getting named a Bicycle Friendly Community--after two Honorable Mentions and years of hard work!

Friday, September 24, 2010

10th Annual Neighborhood Bike Ride!

Saturday, October 2, 2010
Starting point: Central St. and Baxter Ave.
Free safety checks begin at 9 a.m
Ride leaves at 10 a.m.

When we started the ride on Market Square in 2001, there wasn’t much else happening on Saturday mornings. Things have changed dramatically (for the best!), so we have decided to move north where we can spread our wheels.

The start location for this year's ride will be the corner of Central St. and Baxter Ave. We’ll tour Old North, Parkridge, the Old City and Mechanicsville for this year's ride. When we return, the Happy Hollerpalooza festival will be getting under way. Free parking is available at the Knox Central building, 1000 N. Central.

As always, all ages and skill levels welcome, and helmets required. There will be some hills, since this is East Tennessee, but we try to limit them, and we don’t leave anyone behind. The route is less than 12 miles (takes a little more than an hour, including a rest stop).

Three Rivers Market will have refreshments for us at the beginning of the ride. Participants will also receive cards good for a discount at Magpies, Time Warp Tearoom and Freezo, in lieu of our usual after-ride pizza.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kids Love Bikes program

8 youth participated in the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Youth Bike Skills class on two separate half days taught by a LAB licensed cycling instructor. The youth then completed three half days of community service performing trail maintenance and trash pick-up at local mountain bike parks and greenways. 6 kids completed all 5 sessions and were awarded a Specialized bike and helmet, as well as a cable lock, water bottle and cage.

The program was sponsored by Specialized bikes, SCO, Mast General, the Bike Zoo and the YMCA, and organized by Caroline Cooley, Jay Nevans, and Jim Richards.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Knoxville gets national recognition!

Our bike counts have gone up 75% - 155% since 2007. How did we do it? Through lots of programs, events, policies and projects. And we have now been recognized for that work by the League of American Bicyclists---we are officially a Bicycle Friendly Community! Just the second one in the state thank you! We got in at the Bronze level, so now we are going to be in the race for Silver with Chattanooga.

Press release here:

TN state bike route survey

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is currently gathering information for an update to the state bike route network. As part of this update, they're inviting citizens to complete a short online survey regarding their experiences bicycling Tennessee's highways. Input from the survey will help guide the department in developing a comprehensive bicycling network that will assess state routes with respect to bicycle suitability and determine future action items pertinent to the furtherance of the goals of TDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian plan.

The survey will close on October 10, 2010.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Exciting Progress!

We are in the midst of giving a "Sharing the Road with Bicyclists" presentation to all Knox County high school drivers education classes. It would not be possible without the dedication of eleven volunteers! We present in teams of two. Each school takes an entire day of work, so you can see how much effort it takes when you multiply that by eight schools. We plan to continnue this every semester because it is a valuable message to get out to this age group. If you want to help out next semester, please let me know! It's a lot of fun interacting with the students and hearing the questions they come up with.

We have unveiled our "I Bike" awareness campaign targeted at motorists (see photo!). If you're at Regal Cinemas, Pinnacle, look for Sherry Wiles' smiling face on the right side of the lobby. Linda Gray will soon be featured at West Town Mall. When I was putting the banner out at Regal, there were many people stopping to look at it, so I think it's going to be successful at conveying our message. A huge thank you to Smoky Mountain Wheelmen for sponsoring this campaign.
(We were inspired by the "And We Bike" campaign in Oregon,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Neighborhood Bike Ride

Saturday, October 2, 2010
Free safety checks begin at 9 a.m.
Ride leaves at 10 a.m.

The Neighborhood Bike Ride is turning 10 this year!

When we started the ride on Market Square in 2001, there wasn’t much else happening on Saturday mornings. Things have changed dramatically (for the best!), so we have decided to move north where we can spread our wheels. The start location will be the corner of Central and Baxter Ave. We’ll tour Old North Knoxville, Parkridge, Mechanicsville and 4th & Gill for this year’s route. When we return, the Happy Hollerpalooza festival will be getting under way. Free parking is available at the Knox Central building, 1000 N. Central. As always, all ages and skill levels welcome, and helmets required. There will be some hills, since this is East Tennessee, but we try to limit them, and we don’t leave anyone behind. The route is less than 12 miles (takes a little more than an hour, including a rest stop). Email with questions.

UT Clean Commute Day breakfast

In support of Clean Commute Day, Friday, August 20, the UT Office of Sustainability will be providing FREE light breakfast to the first 50 faculty, staff or students who commute to campus by alternative means - walking, biking, carpooling or riding the bus. Please join us for this fun event at the north end of Humanities Plaza from 7:30 to 9:00 am. We’ll have information about alternative commuting plus prizes to give out to a few lucky visitors.

The goal of Clean Commute Day is to get 10,000 people to commute by some means other than driving alone. Please pledge your support for the event and encourage your friends and co-workers to participate too!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bike to Work Convoys

Want to bike in for Clean Commute Day (next Friday, Aug 20), but aren’t sure of the route or just want some company? Meet at one of these locations to join the movement. Please call 215-3815 or email to RSVP. And remember to fill out this online pledge form for Clean Commute Day (if you aren’t logging with Smart Trips).

West Knoxville to downtown and/or UT
6:45 a.m.
Meet at Food City parking lot, 5941 Kingston Pike (just east of Northshore Dr)

Rocky Hills to Scripps/Parkwest Hospital
6:50 a.m.
Meet at Manor House Assisted Living, 8501 S Northshore Dr (corner of Wallace)

Oak Ridge to West Knoxville (Weisgarber area)
6 a.m.
Meet at The Rush, 302 S Illinois Ave

Holston Hills to downtown/UT
6:55 a.m.
Meet at Holston River Park, 3300 Holston Hills Road (top parking lot by pavilion).

Oakwood/Lincoln Park to downtown
7:30 a.m.
Meet at Oakwood Baptist Church, corner of E Columbia Ave and Central Ave

South Knoxville to downtown
8:15 a.m.
Meet at Graystone Presbyterian Church, 139 Woodlawn Pike

North Knoxville to downtown and Island Home
6:45 a.m.
Kmart shopping center on N. Broadway

Sutherland to UT
7:30 a.m.
Meet at the Sutherland Ave trailhead for Third Creek Greenway (between Tobler and Liberty)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great bike decals...and more

I can't believe I haven't discovered this site before! They have reflective bike decals, bumper stickers, t-shirts...even bike-themed bottle openers.

Clean Commute Day!

Smart Trips first annual Clean Commute Day is Friday, August 20, 2010. Our goal is to encourage at least 10,000 people to use an alternative to driving alone to work that day such as carpooling, bicycling, taking the bus or walking to work. If the goal is reached, more than 200,000 pounds of air pollution can be reduced in one day, a feat which normally takes months to achieve.

Gift cards to Best Buy, Mast General Store, Three Rivers Market and Panera Bread will be awarded to randomly chosen participants. This is the first time Smart Trips will offer prizes for just one day of alternative commuting.

To keep track of participation, an online pledge form is available. Or those interested can join Smart Trips, for free, and log their Clean Commute participation. Current Smart Trips members can do the same.

With all the recent air quality alert days, efforts such as these are important to raise consciousness and change habits. Plus, it’s exciting to see what a big difference we can all make together.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chattanooga hosts bicycle conference!

Chattanooga, TN - The National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) will come to Chattanooga, TN Sept. 13-17 for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 2010 conference. This year's theme, Bringing Livable Communities and Regions to Scale, will help attract a diverse representation of community planners, engineers, transportation and elected officials, as well as those concerned with the environment, public health and energy policies. The conference will bring over 600 people to Chattanooga, making it North America's premier conference on walking, biking, and livability. Attendees will be able choose from over 70 panel sessions on bicycling and walking issues and a host of mobile workshops over the course of the conference.

While attendees come from all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and further abroad, “regional participation is very important,” says Chattanooga Bicycle Coordinator Philip Pugliese.“Local attendees are vital to the success of this conference,” adds Pugliese. “As we showcase Chattanooga’s accomplishments for sustainable transportation, we will also be learning from other communities on how best to prepare for the future, both locally and regionally.”

In addition to the regularly scheduled panel sessions and mobile workshops, there will also be a special conference session on creating a more livable Chattanooga, geared towards local leadership, hosted by the Active Living Transportation Network, Choose Chattanooga and the Pioneering Healthy Communities initiative. Registration is open now. Standard rates apply through Tues., Aug. 31. Early bird discounts are available through Sun., Aug. 15.

To learn more about the conference or register, visit or contact Philip Pugliese at (423) 643-6887 or

Philip Pugliese
Bicycle Coordinator
Outdoor Chattanooga
200 River Street
Chattanooga, TN 37405
T 423.643.6887 M 423.322.1489
Fax 423.643.6885

Friday, August 6, 2010

Letter to a Bicyclist

To the bike commuter in blue on Broadway this morning:

As I was getting on the bus at 7:45 (my bike is in the shop), I saw you veer into the center turn lane to pass the line of 4 cars waiting behind my bus. A few minutes later, the bus was waiting at a red light and I saw you stop (points for at least stopping first) and then run the red light. We passed you, and then a few minutes later as we were stopping for another red light, you passed on the left between the bus and a car, and then made a quick right turn onto 5th Ave.

Wow, that is a lot of law-breaking in the span of about 5 minutes! Not only is it illegal to do pretty much everything I just listed, but it's extremely dangerous. What if one of the motorists waiting behind the bus suddenly decided to do what you were doing and pass in the center turn lane? Do you think they would have looked back to see if a bicyclist was coming before pulling out? Nope, and you would have been creamed.

As for the red light running, in your situation, it was safe because you looked for traffic before going, but you basically were saying to all the motorists waiting at the intersection,"hey, look at me, I'm on a bike so the laws don't apply to me!" They are going to wonder why you are allowed on the road at all. And they may take it out on the next bicyclist they see, even one doing nothing wrong.

How can we expect motorists to take us seriously as legitimate users of the roads if we don't follow the same laws? Why do you get to run the red light on a bike, but not in a car? The laws are there to keep us all safe. It doesn't work if we pick and choose which ones and when to follow them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mast General bike rides continue

Mast General's weekly rides in June were so popular, they have decided to continue them. The ride starts at 8:00 A.M. from the stage at Market Square every Saturday. This is a recreational ride and they will not let anyone fall behind. This week's route goes to the end of Will Skelton Greenway and back to Market Square. This is a wonderful ride through Ijams on the greenways. There will be some on road riding and a few hills to deal with, but there will be water at Ijams and some welcome shade. The ride will last about 1 1/2 hours and cover about 15 miles.

You can visit the Farmers Market on your return!

If you need additional information, you can contact Brad at 242-1419 or 577-1243 or at (Jim Richards normally leads these, but he is on a well-earned vacation!)

Getting the Green

City Engineering and I just tested the loop detector on Jackson at Broadway (heading toward World's Fair Park) and discovered that, contrary to most intersections, the most sensitive spot where you should position your bicycle is between the pavement cuts. (Usually it's on top of the pavement cuts--see below for excerpt from our Commute Guide.) Also, remember that there is a new state law that allows bicyclists to proceed through a red light when the loop detector (or video camera) doesn't detect them. You DO have to make sure it's really not working, and not use the law as an excuse to run any red light.

Some traffic signals are triggered by electrically charged wires buried in the pavement. When a vehicle stops over the wires, the metal disrupts the current, which sends a signal to the traffic signal control box. While a car is easily detected by the sensors, and a pedestrian can push a button to get the “walk” sign, a bicycle — with relatively little metal — must be in the right
spot to be detected.

You can recognize these sensors by looking for narrow cut lines in the pavement, usually in a rectangle shape. You should be able to activate the signal by positioning your bike on the pavement cut. If there are three parallel cuts in one lane, you should position your bike in the center of the lane, over the center pavement cut.

Also keep in mind that some traffic signals have very long cycle lengths and it may take a while to get served on a side street. Cycle lengths may be as long as one hundred and twenty seconds, and although two minutes may not sound like a long time, it may seem like an eternity when waiting for a green.

If you find a signal that is not working for bikes, please call 215-3815 or e-mail

Full Commute Guide at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bike and Buses

The morning bike commute is ok, but by the time you leave work, it's 98 degrees....what to do? How about taking the bus home? Oh, but what to do about your bike?

Your bike can ride on the front of the bus!

But you've never used one of the racks on the front of the bus and aren't sure how it works. Don't worry, it's very simple. We have handy instructions in our Bicycle Commute Guide on page 22.

Plus, there is a bus parked at the transfer point on Main Street (in front of the City-County Building) for passengers who need A/C. You're welcome to practice loading your bike on that bus's rack.

You may be concerned about whether your bike will stay on--it doesn't seem like a completely secure system. But I have ridden the 90 Crosstown from Middlebrook to the mall and back to downtown with my bike on the front, no problem!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Bicycling Ambassadors training

We've had a lot of interest expressed in the Bicycling Ambassadors program. If you want to join in the fun, send me an email at or come to a training session. There are two to choose from next week:

Tues, July 13
Thur, July 15
6:15 p.m.
Christenberry Community Center, 931 Oglewood Ave.
Heading north on Broadway, turn left on Oglewood (there's a Krystals on the corner). The elementary school and community center will be on your right. The entrance to the community center faces Henegar St.

To complete the training, you'll need to attend a second session and one event teamed with a mentor. Just let me know and I can provide more details.

Each Ambassador will receive a $50 gift card once they complete the training and 4 hours of work, and a $100 gift card after working another 10 hours.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bicycle Program Update

Bicycle Plan
The Bicycle Plan was adopted by Knoxville City Council and Knox County Commission in April. While the plan was technically already adopted last May by the TPO Executive Board, we felt we could get more awareness and buy-in through this adoption process. Everyone seemed very supportive of the plan and bicycling in general.

Ellen and Kelley are developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the City of Oak Ridge. The draft plan is about to be reviewed by the plan’s bicycle/pedestrian task force and a public meeting is expected in August or September. Link to

We conduct bicycle/pedestrian counts at 10 – 14 intersections in Knoxville and in Blount County twice a year. Recent analysis shows that counts have nearly tripled since 2007. We got front page coverage in the Knoxville News Sentinel and a story on WATE evening news about this increase.

We are working with the City of Knoxville on Phase II and III of greenway directional/wayfinding signs as well as warning/traffic signs (most of Phase II has been installed already). Signage for three bike routes has been ordered. The routes connect Cedar Bluff & West Hills, Knoxville Zoo & Caswell Park, and Harvest Park/Knoxville Center Mall & North Knoxville to downtown & UT. Installation will occur in the fall. Along with signage, there will be shared use lane markings (sharrows) on 6 streets and bike stencil markings at several intersections with sensors to show bicyclists where to position themselves to be detected when there is no other traffic.

We have 6 certified League of American Bicyclists instructors to teach bicycling classes. A variety of classes are available for all ages and skills levels. We hold Confident City Cycling classes about twice a year. Jim Hagerman is teaching a class through UT Continuing Education program. Two bike rodeos for kids were held this spring, on April 17 at EarthFest and May 15 in Townsend as part of Child Safety Day. More than 120 kids participated. A Bike Commuting 101 presentation was held at Fleet Feet Sports in Turkey Creek.

The Bicycle Advisory Committee will unveil an awareness campaign in July that involves placement of lifesize cutouts, with the message that bicyclists are your friends, neighbors and family members. These will be placed at West Town Mall, and other locations are being arranged.

A Bicycling Ambassadors program is starting. Ambassadors encourage bicyclists to ride more often and more safely, and educate motorists on the rules of the road. Ambassadors attend community events and Bicycle Program events to teach bike safety, sharing the road, greenway etiquette and how to bike to work and school. Our message is conveyed through face-to-face interaction allowing for a conversation targeting the specific interests, questions and needs of each individual. Training for the first round of volunteers is starting in July. Ambassadors will staff booths at Farmers Market, along with the “And We Bike” cutouts, and will also present to all Knox County high school Drivers Education classes in the fall.

Smart Trips Month and Bike to Work Day were a huge success, with many people starting to commute by bike, or biking to work more often. The 2010 Tour de Lights will be Thursday, December 16, and planning is already underway. Due to the success last year, City Special Events will be highlighting the ride in the Christmas in the City brochure. More formal judging will occur for the awards, so go ahead and start ordering your holiday decorations!

Enforcement Roll call training on enforcement issues related to bicycling was provided to all Knox County Sheriffs Department and Knoxville Police Department officers in 2009, and to all officers in Blount County through inservice training. Each officer received the handbook developed by the TPO. In spring 2010, the training was given as part of KPD inservice training, which allows more time for presentation than at roll call.

Bike parking
More than 410 bike racks have been installed through the bike parking program, and these locations are now being put into GIS and will soon be posted online.

TDOT Coordination
The TPO coordinator works closely with TDOT staff on bicycle issues. Jessica Wilson, who has been serving as interim bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, has now been posted permanently to that position. TDOT recently held a 2-day bicycle and pedestrian facilities design training in Knoxville. More than 45 local engineers attended.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bicycling Ambassadors

Want to help improve bike safety in Knoxville? Do you like talking topeople? Be one of the first Bicycling Ambassadors in town!

Ambassadors encourage bicyclists to ride more often and more safely, and educate motorists on the rules of the road. Ambassadors attend community events and Bicycle Program events to teach bike safety, sharing the road, greenway etiquette and how to bike to work and school. Our message is conveyed through face-to-face interaction allowing for a conversation targeting the specific interests, questions and needs of each individual.

Training is provided. After you meet a certain number of volunteer hours, you'll receive an awesome thank you gift. ($50 gift card for first threshhold, then $100 after another!)

Link to similar programs:

Friday, June 18, 2010

summer bike rides

Bike Riding with Mast General Store Sponsored by Mast General Store

Morning bike rides in community parks through the month of June. The rides are for recreational riders, high school age and up. Riders should provide their own bike and must wear a helmet. All rides will begin at 8 am, from the parking lot of the following parks. For more information, please call 546-1336. Pre-registration is encouraged, 541-4500.

June 19 – Holston Hills Park, 8 am
June 26 – South Knoxville, meet at the Sunsphere in World's Fair Park, 8 am

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Townsend Bike Rodeo

90 plus kids came through our bike safety rodeo last weekend in Townsend!

Friday, April 23, 2010


The Bicycle Plan passed City Council Tuesday evening with no hitches! Thanks to Jim Hagerman, Caroline Cooley and Stephanie Welch for coming and speaking on behalf of the bicycling community. (Jim actually spoke at first reading, after sitting through a grueling 3 ½ hr debate over housing for the homeless, so he deserves major, unlimited kudos!)

Next, the Plan will go to Knox County Commission on Monday around 6 p.m. I think emails to Commission will be best. Their meeting starts at 2 p.m. on Mondays and goes til late, late, late, so I don't really want to take up meeting time with comments. You can find their email addresses here: Please do take a few minutes to send an email to your commissioners.

The bike rodeo at EarthFest was a big hit, especially considering it was the first year we held one and it was kind of last minute. I think about 30 kids came through. Thanks to Linda Gray, Ellen Zavisca, Mark Parker, Brad Hedge, Karen Wilkerson (sp?), Deb Haines and Martha Buchanan for running it! And thanks to Knox County Sheriffs officers for helping too.

We are doing another rodeo in Townsend on May 15th, and I'm still looking for some volunteers for that. Please let me know if you can help. Safe Kids is going car seat checks, so we have to do helmet fitting ourselves, and Blount County doesn't have bike education through the sheriffs office so we don't have that help either.

Smart Trips Month starts soon. Calendar of events One thing we are asking is for people to pledge that they will use alternative transportation, either for the first time or do it more often, during our Commuter Challenge (through Sept 30). Please be a role model for the rest of the community and send us a pledge! You'll get a Be Green, Save Green card with great discounts to local merchants (including the most popular one at Mast!).

You may have also seen my plea on facebook for photos. The First Friday Art Bus is supposed to feature photos of alternative transportation (biking, transit, etc) but we have not gotten many submissions (and by that I mean one). We've extended the deadline to Monday, so if you get a chance this weekend (I know the weather isn't helping) to take some, please send them in.

The marketing committee made great plans for an awareness campaign featuring lifesize cutouts of local bicyclists with the message "We're your neighbors and friends, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
And we bike.
Please drive as if you know us - because it just might be true!"
I've submitted a funding request to SMW and Knox Rev and am waiting to hear back. We've got "models" lined up to photograph and are trying to get permission from places to put the cutouts (like the mall, Walmart, etc). Then need to figure out how many to make.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The price of oats

The New Scientist has a story about how a volcanic eruption and the rising price of oats in the early 19th century led to the invention of the precursor to the modern bicycle.

A snippet:
The resulting velocipede, or draisine, was the first vehicle to use the key principle of modern bicycle design: balance. "To modern eyes balancing on two wheels seems easy and obvious," says Lessing. "But it wasn't at the time, in a society that normally only took its feet off the ground when riding horses or sitting in a carriage."

Ice skaters, who balance on a blade, were the main exception to this rule. There are contemporary accounts of Dutch women skating from village to village along frozen canals, balancing a milk churn on their heads while doing their knitting.
It's a good read.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bicycle Plan

The TPO Regional Bicycle Plan will be going to Knoxville City Council for adoption on April 20. Please let City Council know how you feel about the Bicycle Program and bicycle issues in general. Email addresses are at:

The Plan will also go before County Commission on April 26. Please contact your commissioners as well ( ) Let me know if you have any questions.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Be Green, Save Green

You can now see all the info on Smart Trips Month events online at There are a ton of bike classes, rides and events for all ages and skill levels. We've also got a bike rodeo for kids at EarthFest from noon to 3 p.m. (April 17, Pellissippi State College off Hardin Valley).

Remember that Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 21. If you have questions about getting started bike commuting, check out our handy guide If you still have questions, just send me an email
There are prizes out there for the winning, as part of Smart Trips Month and also our new Commuter Challenge.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bicycle Program Basics

I get the question a lot "Who are you with? The City, the County, or the State?" The short answer is "None of the above." Here's the long answer:

The Bicycle Program is housed within the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization ( -- let's say TPO -- which is responsible for long-range, multimodal (hence the bicycle and Smart Trips programs) transportation planning for the Knoxville urbanized area, PLUS (this is where it gets complicated) the air quality non-attainment area. It boils down to us doing planning for Knox, Blount, Sevier, Loudon, Jefferson, and Anderson counties (there's a bit of Roane and Cocke in there, but small portions without much population). Appointed and elected officials serve on the TPO Technical Committee and Executive Board. The TPO Executive Board is responsible for divvying up federal transportation funds that come through the state to our area.

OK, now for more complication. The TPO itself is housed within the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission. MPC does comprehensive planning, and administration of zoning and land subdivision regulations for Knoxville and Knox County. When you hear about "MPC," sometimes it's referring to the staff but more often, it's referring to the appointed commission, comprised of 15 members; seven members appointed by the Mayor of Knoxville and eight members appointed by the Knox County Executive and confirmed by the Local Government Planning Committee, Tennessee State Planning Office.

Funding for the Bicycle Program comes from federal transportation money that goes to the TPO, and matching funds that come from MPC. (MPC gets its funds from City of Knoxville, Knox County and development fees.)

Bike Essay Contest!

Wanting to make a greener commute but lack the green for a bicycle? Just write an essay about how you would use a bicycle as an alternative to a car and you could win one of two commuter bikes, each retailing for up to $1000. Essays should be 350 - 500 words and must be received by May 14. The winner will be announced on May 21 at our Bike to Work Day event.

Send your entry to

Sponsored by Smart Trips, Harper’s Bike Shop, and Tennessee Valley Bicycles.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bicycle Program Update

The spring bicycle/pedestrian counts will take place at 9 intersections on April 6 by Dr. Gene Fitzhugh’s ES 350 class. Previous counts dating back to 2005 are available at

Ellen and Kelley are developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the City of Oak Ridge. The first round of public comments has been compiled, and the task force is working on prioritizing proposed projects.

Kelley is serving on the Transportation subcommittee of the UT Campus Master Plan update process. She will be representing bicycle issues, as well as other transportation modes.

Kelley is working with City of Knoxville traffic engineering on signing three bicycle routes. The routes connect Cedar Bluff & West Hills, Knoxville Zoo & Caswell Park, and Harvest Park/Knoxville Center Mall & North Knoxville to downtown & UT.

Ellen is working with City of Knoxville on Phase II of the greenway signage project on Neyland, James White and Second Creek greenways. Kelley is beginning work on Phase III, including Gallaher, Jean Teague and Bearden Villlage. (Ph III has to coordinate with the bike route project, since the West route uses greenways for a large part of the way.)

The 2009 Regional Bicycle Plan has been adopted by MPC and goes before City Council and County Commission in April. Though the plan was already adopted by the TPO Executive Board, this process will raise awareness of the plan at the local level. Kelley will send out info soon on how you can show support of the plan to Council and Commission.

The Bicycle Advisory Committee is beginning work on an awareness campaign that involves placement of lifesize cutouts in public locations, with the message that bicyclists are your friends, neighbors and family members. If you would like to be featured on one of these cut outs, please email

Kelley is presenting at KPD inservice each Friday on bicycle enforcement issues (targeted both at motorists and bicyclists). Mike Winck is assisting with two of the Fridays so that Kelley can have a break!

Lastly, please submit photos of you or your family biking to work, or biking in one of our past rides, to be used on our facebook page as the Bicycle Program's profile picture. You can post to our wall or email to me.

First Friday Art Bus

It's the second annual First Friday Art Bus, coming to Market Street on May 7th! This year, the KAT bus gallery will showcase alternative transportation photography. We're looking for submissions from you of bike commuting, carpooling, transit-ing, or walking. Just send us an electronic version by April 23 and we'll notify you by April 28 if you've been accepted. A distinguished panel of judges will chose a winner to receive a $50 gift card to Mast General Store. Runner ups will receive Smart Trips gift bags. Send entries to

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Knox Blount Greenway Master Plan

The Knox/Blount Greenway Master Plan for Maryville, Alcoa & Blount County, Phase One will go before the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks & Recreation Commission board on April 13. The meeting begins at noon at the Parks & Rec office at 316 S. Everett High Road in Maryville.

If you're able to attend or otherwise voice support for the adoption of this plan, please do. Getting the plan adopted is the first step to making these greenway connections happen.

You can download the plan from the City of Alcoa's website:

Stop Light Bill becomes law


HR3131/SB3057 (a.k.a. the Stop Light Bill) is now law with an effective date of July 1, 2010. If you listened to the debate in the House Transportation Committee on this Bill, you will remember that a key concern of Rep Floyd and Johnson was how this law going to be communicated to bicyclists. If not done correctly, these assemblymen warned somebody is going to get hurt or killed. Even though Rep Brooks commented that know one was hurt with the motorcycle version, Floyd and Johnson had a much lower opinion of the maturity of bicyclists.

Rep Brooks said he was sure that the bicycling community would present this law in a manner that minimizes the potential for abuse. In order back up Rep Brooks’ promise, I prepared a page on our Web Site, to clarify what the law changes. I have shared this information with Rep’s Brooks, Johnson, Floyd, and Sen Woodson.

I encourage every bicyclist to share this Web Page with Clubs and affiliate members. It helps to “grease the skids” so when we have our next piece of legislation we don’t have bad experience from the Stop Light Law defeating it.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Webinar and survey on women & bicycling

FREE Webinar March 31: “Writing Women Back into Bicycling: Changing Transportation Culture to Encourage More Women to Cycle More Places More Often"

Celebrate Women’s History Month and connect with others interested in healthy, livable, bicycle-friendly communities! This free webinar is open to the public. March 31 from 3:00 pm-4:30 pm Eastern time. Register at

The Knox County Health Dept will host this in Knoxville, second floor classroom at 140 Dameron Ave. Join us!

Women and girls are invited to take a survey about bicycle use (or non-use) and barriers to bicycling. Interim results reported during webinar; final results released after May 15 during National Bike Month.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Congratulations, Mast General!

Mast General Store was just named a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists! They have been very supportive of our Bicycle Program and Smart Trips. Also, we envy their employees, who get paid $3/day not to drive to work (and many of them bike to work to earn that reward). Thanks for being a partner, Mast, and congratulations on your award!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Great support from US DOT for biking

First the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced "You have a full partner in Ray LaHood" and shared his support for bicycling as a viable form of transportation - a key to livable communities - at the National Bike Summit's Congressional Reception on Thursday, March 11th . Today, LaHood amazed the bicycling world and announced his new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. It is simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Support more funding for bike projects

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) introduced H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act of 2010 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Encourage your U.S. representative to co-sponsor the legislation now!

The Act would create a $2 billion program to fund dozens of communities around the country to improve their trail, walking and biking networks. Your community could ultimately receive some of these funds, better allowing you and your neighbors to walk and bike to the places you live, work, play, shop and learn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kids bike safety events

If you are familiar with bike rodeos for kids, they generally have several stations and include some obstacle courses. I'm trying to see if there is enough interest in helping before I commit to having them at EarthFest, April 17 (at Pellissippi State), and in Townsend as part of a Child Safety Day event on May 15 (yes, that is the same day as Tour de Blount). Please let me know if you are interested, and which day you could help with. Thanks!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Some March Updates

Bicycle Rentals on Volunteer Landing will start back up sometime late March 2010 or early April 2010. Visit for updates. Tell your visiting friends this Spring!

Another March event:
Volunteer opportunities with the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon as a Course Marshall cyclist may be available. I was a bicyclist course monitor for a couple years and thoroughly enjoyed it. Event date is Sunday, March 28th. Check out or call 865-684-4294 if you may be interested in volunteering.

Besides being a commuter bicyclist, I am a graduate student in the Anthropology department at the University of Tennessee. Came across an interesting read:
From Bipedalism to Bicyclism: Evolution in Energetics and Biomechanics of Historic Bicycles. Alberto E. Minetti, John Pinkerton, Paolo Zamparo. Proceedings: Biological Sciences. Vol. 268, No. 1474(Jul. 7, 2001), pp. 1351-1360.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bike Advocacy Options

Do you wish it were easier and safer to bike in our community? Here's your chance to help out with the Bicycle Program's efforts! Let me know if you can assist with any of these projects:

1. Work on a safety/education campaign that has been planned by the Bicycle Advisory Committee, but needs to be implemented.

2. Promote biking at UT to students. Perhaps group rides in August/Sept to show them how to get downtown, to grocery stores by bike? Guerrilla marketing?

3. Revise the Knoxville/Knox bicycle map. Figure out how to get input in a way we can use. Ask for input from bicycling community. Sort through input and make changes.

4. Review Bicycle Program website and note any problems, offer advice on what else should be included, what should be dropped, reorganized, etc.

5. Revew Bicycle Commute Guide. Any changes needed? Is there a need for a short version or does that lose too much info?

6. Look into organizing a Bike Commuting 101 presentation at your worksite or in your neighborhood. I am available to give the presentation, and it's always good to have other bike commuters there as well to answer questions, help with routes.

7. Anything else from the Bicycle Plan that you're interested in.

Other ways to help:

  • Send emails to elected officials (mayor, city council, county commission, state and/or federal representatives) about needing more funding for bicycle facilities (bike lanes, connected greenways, etc)
  • Write a letter to the editor about bicycling issues and the need for motorists to share the road and watch for bicyclists (or whatever your concerns are).
  • Mention bicycle issues and link to Bicycle Program on your facebook and twitter accounts, blogs, listservs, forums, etc.
  • Offer to show a neighbor/co-worker how to bike to work and get them to register for Smart Trips

Email me at if you would like to help!

Friday, February 5, 2010

SMART TRIPS Making plans for Smart Trips Month 2010! What was your favorite event from last year? The First Friday Art Bus, Bike to Work Day, How Many Can You Fit in a Fit, or the Jack Neely walk?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Henley Bridge meeting

Great turnout at the public meeting last night! About 50 people were there and only one person spoke against the bike lanes (because he thought it was too dangerous for bicyclists to be on the road). I saw a lot of the bike community there--thanks for coming out! Sounds like the City has received a lot of email comments in favor of the bike lanes as well. They say TDOT is very receptive to the requested change in plans. The start date of the project is still up in the air because of funding issues, and construction will take 30 - 36 months.
(wacky headline since all but one person spoke in favor of the bike lanes)

Bike-friendly legislation

A great bill was introduced yesterday in Tennessee legislature. Everyone should contact their state senators and representatives to let them know your thoughts!*SB 3057 by *Woodson ( HB 3131 by *Brooks H) Traffic Safety - As introduced, authorizes bicycles to proceed through intersections with inoperative vehicle detection devices due to the weight of the bicycles. - Amends TCA Section 55-8-110.

Find My Legislator website

(Technically, it is metal content, not weight, that triggers the detection but certainly carbon fiber bikes don't weigh as much as metal bikes!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Blog question

Hello, loyal followers!

I know I have been remiss in posting here. It seems that facebook has been much more active, as well as knoxvillecycling forums. How many of you are not on facebook or Would you be willing to use one of those methods of getting info instead of this blog? Any other thoughts on the best methods of communication?