Wednesday, April 6, 2011

CYCLING BLOOMING LIKE IT IS SPRING!

All around me, cycling “stuff” seems to be popping out of the ground just like the spring flowers now making their presence known. Seems as if everywhere I turn, some item related to cycling is making itself known. And, well, that is a …

good thing. Maybe it is even a GREAT thing! This past week has seen our county’s first ever bike plan initiative taking another step forward with the approval of our selected nominee for the development of the plan first receiving NC DOT approval followed by the Haywood County Board of Commissioners signing off on the selection at this past Monday’s meeting. (If you want to drop a note of appreciation to the BOC members, link to them HERE!)

TransPo Group with Stantec won our hearts and minds with their excellent proposal for development of the local bike plan. It is our understanding that most bike plans get developed on a municipality basis but we’re going for it on a county wide basis. Doing fragmented plans with our four county enclosed municipalities just didn’t make much sense to us in the long run so we’re hoping for a unified approach for the entire county. We are hopeful this will be done is such a way as to move us toward League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Community” status in the future.

Even without the bike plan, we’re hard at work on our 5 E’s. We’ve been busy in Education and outreach this spring. We kicked it off with participation in the orientation to the Haywood County Fitness Challenge and will be leading our second season of local group rides for “new and newly” returning riders beginning tomorrow, April 7th. The rides teach cyclists to ride within the legal limits and help cyclists build up fitness and get used to riding safely in a group. Above all, the rides bring out the FUN aspect of cycling. The rides also help motorists get used to seeing cyclists sharing the road with them. Hopefully, many folks will get the urge to use their bicycles for alternative transportation when they see how easy it is to knock out those 1 and 2 mile trips to the shopping centers.

On other fronts, we’re hopeful of gaining a grant to purchase 20 bicycles for our local schools to supplement and replace their aging equipment that is used to teach 4th graders how to ride bicycles. The programs are part of the local school’s physical education curriculum. The grant application has been submitted and we’ll hear more about that in early to mid May.

In two weeks, our local advisory council will be undergoing Basic First Aid training as a group so that we might be properly prepared in the event of someone going down or being injured on one of our sponsored rides. We’re also working toward our plans for 2011 Bike Week and Bike to Work day!

My “honey do” list has put some serious kinks in my recent riding time. This last weekend was spent doing two week’s worth of yard care and maintenance as the Navigator and I prepare to head to the Low Country of S.C. this weekend. We’ll be in hiding with the Magic Circle on Folly Beach. Shh! Don’t tell anyone! The next you hear from me is likely to be after a fun ride on some flat roads! I’m looking forward to this year’s visit to Dave Moulton’s territory!

I’m looking forward to hearing from the Velo Hobo on his recent sojourn to the Outer Banks of N.C. He should be back now and ready to share with us his adventures! Jill from Jill Outside is still adapting to the pending summer weather of California after her extended move from Alaska. I’m still trying to decide if she was writing with “tongue firmly in cheek” about having to suffer through summer and warm temps in California. Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson is “tweeting” away about his 30 days of riding in April. Seems Kent is feeling like he’s been walking a little too much and not riding near enough. Sadly, Ted at BikingInLA is having to catalog way too many cyclists’ deaths due to drunk and impaired drivers and distracted drivers. He’s calling for a new bike plan in L.A. –  A Vision Zero concept.

Well, time’s a wasting! Got to run pack! I’ll be back with you from the Low Country later this week – unless something else “springs up” at me before we hit the road!

Until later,

- Zeke

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