Monday, December 5, 2011

‘TIS THE SEASON–FOR BIKE PLANS!

I’ve just had the pleasure of participating in the latest Bike Plan Kick-Off for the Western North Carolina region this past week. The Land of the Sky regional planning board in conjunction with the Southwestern (NC) Commission is preparing a region wide bike plan that will encompass 7 counties in western North Carolina.

Zeke addresses Blue Ridge Bike Plan participants

(The BRBP logo is shown to my right during my brief chat with participants)

The $250,000.00 plan is being funded through the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization and will carry through to 2013. Representatives from the 7 involved counties met at….

Haywood Community College’s High Tech Center to begin the process of plan development. Participants included local elected officials, town and county planners, cycling advocates, and the general public. The morning session consisted of orientation to the plan and funding for the Steering Committee members and selection of an Executive Committee that will meet at least quarterly over the next 2 years. The Executive Committee will be a decision making body that brings the overall plan together. I was pleased to get a spot on the Executive Committee as one of the 5 at-large advocate seats.

The afternoon session consisted of  welcoming messages from the current Chair of the French Broad Metropolitan Planning Organization and Waynesville Alderman LeRoy Roberson. Roberson is a member of BicycleHaywoodNC and advised the participants that the plan would have his full support in moving forward. After the welcoming comments, myself and two other advocates addressed the crowd from our perspectives which included our recently adopted Haywood County Comprehensive Bike Plan, a very successful and ongoing trails plan in nearby Buncombe County, and ongoing plans for a Rails to Trails conversion in Transylvania and Henderson Counties.

This event, by all reports, was a successful kick-off to the regional planning process. You may view more information by visiting the regional bike plan website.

On a more local front…

We continue to move forward with our own Haywood County Bike Plan development. A large part of the development at this stage of the game is educating the public to the plan. Over the course of the next week, myself, Don Kostelec, Project Manager, and Claire Carleton, Haywood County Recreation Director will be speaking to at least 3 groups. I start tomorrow with a 7:00 a.m. chat with the Sunrise Rotary Club of Waynesville and then finish the evening with our monthly meeting of BicycleHaywoodNC. On Sunday evening, we will be attending the annual meeting of Blue Ridge Bicycle Club in advance of our merging with that organization to form a regional advocacy effort. Next Thursday, we have meetings scheduled with The Town of Clyde and Haywood Community College officials to follow through on developing a Park ‘N Pedal for HCC staff and students in nearby Clyde. The plan would be to highlight a safe route to the school in order to relieve parking congestion on campus and to provide an opportunity to improve health and reduce gasoline consumption. Also part of that discussion will be some conversation around the local black smith and welding programs of HCC to design and build some culturally sensitive bike racks for local businesses. That same evening, we will be addressing the Town of Waynesville Board of Alderman at their December meeting to apprise them of developments in the bike plan. 

‘Tis the season indeed!

A brief Tour De France spinner bike update…

I continue to be impressed with this product. I’ve found that creating local rides on Google Earth via iFit and then downloading to the bike is an easy process and makes my exercise periods interesting. As one would expect, in developing a better understanding of how the bike functions, I’m getting more comfortable with using it. I’ve had some really good workouts leaving me exhausted and soaked in sweat.

I’ve listed on my “wish list” for Christmas a Brooks B-17 saddle and some Shimano pedals like the ones on my Salsa Fargo so that I might be more comfortable on the spinner and so that I might use my regular riding shoes. On the downside, a new “click-clack” sound has developed on the left crank. I’m going to monitor it to be sure that some part isn’t failing. Still, all in all, I’m quite impressed with the spinner.

Until later,

- Zeke

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