Bicycle Colorado seeks new executive director

DENVER (BRAIN) — Bicycle Colorado has launched a national search for a new executive director as Dan Grunig, the advocacy group’s leader for the past 15 years, steps down in December. “Bicycle Colorado is poised to advance important active transportation issues across the state. I’m convinced this organization will continue to be a major driver toward ensuring Colorado ultimately becomes the most bike friendly state in the nation,” Grunig said.

Colorado’s first Brevet Beaver Creek an ‘investment’ event, organizer says

AVON, Colo. (BRAIN) — A brevet event planned for this weekend is a low-key “investment” event that will lay the foundation for more ambitious events in the future, the organizer said. The Brevet Beaver Creek runs Friday through Sunday

Rick Vosper: Haunted by the Ghosts of Dead Cyclists, Part Three

In Part One of this series , we established that, thanks largely to sensationalist media, the public has a horrifying perception of bikes as two-wheeled death traps.

Longtime Georgia retailer to retire in December

DECATUR, Ga. (BRAIN) — Fred Boykin, founder and owner of Bicycle South outside of Atlanta, has announced that he is selling his shop to manager Brian Dunne and will retire at the end of the year

Nantes: A City Getting it Right

Cours des 50 otages - Pistes cyclables

A French translation of this article follows the English text.

The city of Nantes in France will host the global bicycle conference Velo-City?in June 2015.?Before showing up, Copenhagenize Design Company decided to do a scouting tour.

Nantes and its 600,000 inhabitants – including the immediate suburbs – is one of the French cities that decided to implement an ambitious cycling policy. They dared to innovate and to make strong political decisions. We find that inspiring.

To begin with, watch the Velo-City 2015 promotional clip. In this video, Nantes demonstrates that they understand that creating a bicycle-friendly city is not just about building infrastructure but it’s most of all about developing a life-sized city where bicycles are merely one of the tools to create an active, creative and liveable city – albeit one of the most important tools. Nantes presents in the video its inhabitants, its urban spaces and its activities.

We have to admit that we have been impressed by the diversity of features included in the bicycle policy. Far from being only focused on building infrastructure, Nantes expands the initiatives to include everything that can support rebuilding a bike-friendly city; services for cyclists; parking; a bike share programme; long and short term rental bikes; collaboration with the local associations, etc.

Bicloo Zone à Trafic Limité

The implementation of their policy has been a success if you consider the fact that the number of cyclists has increased and the modal share rose from 2% to 4.5% between 2008 and 2012 (5.3% in the city-centre). Most importantly, the bicycle users in the city are largely Citizen Cyclists and not hard-core “avid cyclists” dressed in racing gear.

First step – Reducing the Number of Parasites
During rush hour, many streets are still highly congested but when it comes to traffic regulation within the city-centre, Nantes has made a crucial decision: the through traffic has been completely removed from the heart of the city thanks to the creation of a Limited Traffic Area.

The main boulevard running through the city is now only accessible to bicycles, public transport and authorised vehicles (taxis, delivery trucks, shopkeepers), meaning that most cars and motorcycles are no longer welcome. On this boulevard, just like on a pedestal,?cyclists ride a 4 meter wide cycle track, slightly elevated. Even if we can criticise the fact that the cycle track is very different from the others (bi-directional, in the middle of the street, elevated), we notice that the Municipality has decided to showcase to the inhabitants that the cyclists are very welcome in Nantes – and prioritized. In addition, the city continues transforming symbolic car-centric places into pedestrian areas (such as the Royale square and the Graslin square). Nantes is Copenhagenizing and modernising itself.

Place Graslin

Building Several Kilometres of Bicycle Infrastructure
In addition to their wider focus, Nantes has, bien sur, built numerous kilometres of separated bike lanes. The colour chosen for the bike lanes is a very light orange. At the intersections, this colour communicates clearly that the space is dedicated to cyclists and orange stripes along the lanes strenghten this communication in some areas.

But let’s look at the infrasturcture in detail because it is the backbone of any cycling city. The lanes are wide enough to host the current number of cyclists (3 meters wide for the bi-directional lanes). But when the modal share will really increase, will it be sufficient to cope with the user’s flow and capacity? Is the infrastructure capable of evolving and expanding? We’re not sure.

Piste cyclable?

Piste cyclable

Piste cyclable bi-directionelle?Piste cyclable

A Clear Strategy Can Still Suffer from Drawbacks
We must mention that one clear drawback and that is a lack of homogeneity in the bicycle network. The diversity the design of the infrastruture is such that without a strong knowledge of the city, you can easily lose track of the network. For instance, bicycle lanes are randomly designed. They are in the middle of the street, on the right of car traffic, on the right or left of the tram, shared with buses or pedestrians suddenly for a few metres, first monodirectional then bidirectional. It’s a guessing game at times.

Despite the consistency of the orange colour and the creation of two main routes – north-south and east-west- the network remains very complex and not at all intuitive. It makes it quite difficult to get a clear mind map of the bike route you’ll be riding. Moreover, the bi-directional bike lanes already show some limits as this infrastructure is too narrow to host the cyclists at the intersections during rush hour.

The physical complexity of the bike infrastructure has two main impacts. First, the speed of the cyclists is reduced, which turns cycling into a less competitive solution compared to other means of transport (12 km/h in Nantes vs. 15,5 in Copenhagen and 20 km/h on the “Green Wave Routes”). We know for a fact that a bicycle user wants to ride from A to B as quick as possible.

Secondly, the difficulty to visualise a clear cycling itinerary can become a serious deterrent to getting new cyclists onto the infrastructure. This might challenge the ambition of the city to increase the modal share. Can Nantes really reach their declared target of 15% model share for cyclists without making cycling the most practical and easiest choice? Not likely, as it is now.

This challenge is common in many French cities that, on the one hand, develop ambitious cycling networks but, on the other hand, make them too inconsistent when it comes to the type of infrastructure.

Increase the?Diversity of Services
Like so many French cities, Nantes implemented a bike share scheme – the Bicloo – relying on user-friendly stations (880 bikes and 102 stations). But the city also offers the commuters the opportunity to combine bicycle and train through the development of a bike-train-bike concept (similar to the BiTiBi project). Indeed, let’s imagine that an inhabitant of Nantes Métropole cycles from home to a nearby suburban train station, he/she can park the bike under a shelter (or, even better, in a secure bike parking facility at the main train station in Nantes). Then, he/she gets on the train and upon arriving in the city-centre, he/she can rent a bike for a day and return it to the same place before taking the train home. ?The City of Nantes has also developed secure bike parking, long term rentals and air pumps and they allow folding bike on the trams – the Cyclotan – as well as offering citizens €300 euros subsidy for buying a cargo bike. allowance when buying a cargo-bike.

Bicloo - station

Bord de l'Erdre

Le Lieu Unique

Important information for our followers attending Vélo-City 2015 – we have already found the Copenhagenize HQ ?- near the conference venue. A lovely place on the Erdre river. See you there in June 2015.


Nantes – Une ville qui a compris?!

La Ville de Nantes (France) accueillera en Juin 2105 la conférence mondiale Vélo-City. Avant de venir y participer, Copenhagenize a décidé d’aller y faire un petit repérage.

Nantes, 600.000 habitants à l’échelle de l’agglomération, est l’une des villes françaises qui a mis en place une ambitieuse politique cyclable et qui n’a pas hésité à innover en la matière et prendre des décisions politiques fortes. De quoi inspirer.

Pour commencer, visionnage de son clip de présentation de Vélo-City 2015, où Nantes montre qu’elle a compris que créer une ville cyclable c’était avant tout créer une ville humaine où les vélos ne sont finalement qu’un des éléments d’une ville active et agréable à vivre. Nantes y présente majoritairement ses habitants, ses espaces publics, ses activités urbaines.

Ensuite, il faut bien avouer que nous avons été impressionné sur la diversité des éléments de sa politique cyclable. Loin de s’être uniquement focalisée sur la construction de pistes cyclables, Nantes a élargi ses initiatives concernant le vélo sur tous les fronts?: services aux cyclistes, parkings, vélos publics, travail avec les associations locales…

Résultat, la part modale du vélo est passée de 2 % à 4,5 % entre 2008 et 2012 (5,3% dans le centre-ville), mais surtout les cyclistes sont des usagers de la rue comme les autres et non des hard-core du vélo, de vrais «?Citizen Cyclists?» (cf. le blogpost sur Copenhagen Cycle Chic).

Deuxièmement, des kilomètres d’infrastructures cyclables
Nantes a construit des kilomètres de pistes cyclables complètement séparées de la circulation automobile.?Orange pâle, c’est la couleur choisie pour marquer les pistes cyclables. Aux carrefours, cette couleur affirme la place des cyclistes et des bandes peintes le long des pistes vient parfois judicieusement renforcer la lisibilité du réseau.

Les pistes sont actuellement assez larges pour accueillir les cyclistes (3 mètres de large mais en bi-directionnelle), mais qu’en sera-t-il quand le nombre de cyclistes augmentera véritablement.?Toutes ces infrastructures seront-elles adaptables?

Une ombre au tableau
Toutefois, il faut tout de même signaler un bémol?: le manque d’homogénéité du réseau cyclable. La diversité du type de pistes cyclables est telle que sans être un fin connaisseur de la ville, on en perd très vite la lisibilité. La piste cyclable se situe parfois au centre de la rue, parfois à droite des voitures, à droite ou à gauche du tram, partagée sur quels mètres avec les piétons ou les bus, elle peut-être mono- ou bi-directionnelle…
Le réseau est trop complexe et malgré la signalisation des axes majeurs nord/sud et est/ouest, difficile d’avoir une carte mentale claire de son itinéraire. Par ailleurs, les pistes cyclables bi-directionnelles montrent déjà leur limite aux heures de pointes, les endroits d’attente aux intersections autant rapidement saturés.

La complexité physique du parcours alternant entre différents types de pistes cyclables à deux impacts majeurs. Il réduit la vitesse des cyclistes et rend ainsi ce mode de déplacement moins compétitif face aux autres modes de transport (12km/h à Nantes contre 15,5 à Copenhague et 20km/h sur les «?Green Waves?»). On le sait, un cycliste utilise son vélo principalement parce que c’est rapide et pratique. Par ailleurs, la complexité de lecture du réseau peut dissuader certains usagers à se déplacer à vélo et limite l’augmentation de la part modale. Est-ce ainsi possible d’atteindre 15% de cyclistes??

Cette remarque est en fait la principale critique que l’on puisse faire aux villes françaises de manière générale. Elles innovent mais complexifient leur réseau.

Une diversité de services?
Comme des dizaines d’autres villes en France, Nantes dispose d’un service de vélos partagés – le Bicloo – et de bornes facilement accessibles (800 vélos et 102 stations). Mais elle permet également la combinaison de transport – vélo-train-vélo (cf. le projet européen BiTiBi). En effet, imaginons qu’un habitant de la région nantaise se rende de son domicile à sa gare locale à vélo, il trouve – à défaut d’un parking sécurisé – un abris à vélo. Il prend ensuite le train et une fois arrivé à la gare de Nantes, il empreinte pour la journée un vélo public et le retourne à la gare lorsqu’il vient reprendre son train.

La Ville de Nantes a développé également des parkings sécurisés disponibles sur la voie public, des pompes à vélo, un vélo pliant autorisé dans le tram – le Cyclotan -, une aide à
de 300 euros à l’achat d’un vélo-cargo, un vélo à disposition des étudiants…

Information à tous nos lecteurs participants à Vélo-City 2015, nous avons déjà trouvé notre QG à deux pas de la salle de congrès, un lieu unique au bord de l’Erdre où nous aurons plaisir à vous retrouver.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Technique: How to clear step-ups on climbs – video

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Chris Ford of bike training and holiday company CycleActive also answers your question about mountain bike step-up technique.

Q: I consider myself to be a pretty good climber. I tuck elbows, drop wrists and keep a strong, even cadence. Trouble is, on one of my routes there’s a root maybe 8-10 inches tall.?

I have no problem lofting the front wheel over it, but because of my tucked position on this very steep part of the hill I am forwards on my seat and find it impossible to shift my weight forwards to clear the back wheel without spinning my wheels.

I’ve seen it done by others so I know it’s do-able, but I’m at a loss. I’ve failed on both my hardtail and full-susser, both very good bikes.?If you have any advice to help me clear it, I’ll trade it for all the swear words I’ve invented while failing.?Hope you can help?–?Andy

A: Clearing a small step-up on a climb is easy using the wheelie.?But when that step gets bigger you need to lift the back wheel too, otherwise you’ll either catch your big chainring or just stall as your back wheel slams into the face of the rock or root.

The first step is to practise lifting the back wheel over a small obstacle. Set out a bit of rope, marker cones or a bit of wood you can easily roll over.

To practise, set out a bit of rope, marker cones or a bit of wood you can easily roll over: to practise, set out a bit of rope, marker cones or a bit of wood you can easily roll over

In a standing position, body relaxed and limbs slightly flexed, roll towards the obstacle.?As you approach, you need to angle your toes down and get ready to kick backwards and up, just after your front wheel crosses the line.?

Imagine standing still and suddenly scooping your heels up behind you to kick yourself in the buttocks. Your body remains in one place – the lift comes from the quick back-and-up of the feet.

As you approach, you need to angle your toes down and get ready to kick backwards and up, just after your front wheel crosses the line: as you approach, you need to angle your toes down and get ready to kick backwards and up, just after your front wheel crosses the line

If you ride with clipless pedals you can, of course, just tug the feet upwards to get a similar effect.?However, this?lifts both the front and back of the bike, so you’re wasting effort.?With the backwards flick/scoop the bike pivots around the front hub, which is more efficient. If you ride with flat pedals you have no choice – you have to use the correct technique.

With this mastered, try rolling towards a larger obstacle and first manualing the front wheel over, then lifting the back wheel.?Do this at a steady pace so you can work on getting the timing right.?As soon as the front wheel is clear, you need to throw your weight forwards to get that front wheel quickly back down, and enable you to lift the back.?

With this mastered, try rolling towards a larger obstacle and first manualing the front wheel over, then lifting the back wheel: with this mastered, try rolling towards a larger obstacle and first manualing the front wheel over, then lifting the back wheel

Once this timing is working, do it with the pedal wheelie instead.?This is harder than the manual as you first have to time the wheelie, then lift off the saddle, shift weight forward and flick up – all in the instant that the front of the bike passes over the obstacle.

When you try this on technical climbs you’ll be even more determined to get weight back onto the front wheel quickly.?As long as it remains light, or airborne, you have no steering control and can quickly lose control.?So practise that rapid weight shift, along with the flick up of the back wheel.

Best cycling holidays in Belgium

Host to some of the finest one-day classics on road cycling’s calendar, Belgium offers an intriguing choice for a holiday on the bike, both on and off road.

Why go cycling in Belgium?

With a population of just 11 million people, Belgium punches above its weight in the cycling world. Home to two of road racing’s most famous one-day classics, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Li?ge-Bastogne-Li?ge, the country is also the spiritual homeland of cyclocross.

The landscape is strikingly varied. With the flat terrain of Flanders in the north giving way to the hills of Wallonia in the south, a lip-smacking menu of riding awaits. With quiet canals to freewheel beside, cobbled streets to bounce across and forests to tear through, you’re sure to find something here to satisfy your cycling legs. And when the riding is done for the day, you can refule with a plate of frites and a couple of Belgium’s famous beers.

The landscape of belgium is varied and beautiful : the landscape of belgium is varied and beautiful

Road cycling in Belgium

Birthplace of the greatest road cyclist of all time, Eddy Merckx, Belgium’s road cycling heritage is arguably without equal. Since 1960, the country has won more than a third of cycling’s five most famous annual one-day races, known as cycling’s monuments.

Add the 18 Tour de France victories that the country boasts, and the fact that a Belgian has been crowned world champion 24 times in the past 75 years (a strike rate just shy of one in three), and you get some understanding of just how ingrained cycling is in this country’s culture.

If you have the legs and you’re up for sampling a little of what the professionals face during the Ronde, then base yourself near Ghent and construct a route that takes on some of the infamous cobbled hills that feature every year on the route of this great classic. They may be short, but what they lack in length they more than make up for in gradient.

The Oude Kwaremont (2.2km, max 11 percent) and Paterberg (0.4km, max 20 percent are both in the town of Kluisbergen, while the Koppenberg (0.6km, max 19 percent), is a bike pump’s throw away in Melden.

Another 25km to the east is the Muur van Geraardsbergen, also known as the Kapelmuur. The Muur has featured in many past editions of the Ronde but was dropped from the route in 2012 to the consternation of many. It is one of cycling’s most revered places and remains a must for those looking for a little of the true Ronde experience.?

Starting and finishing in Ghent, a 130km circular ride via Deinze, Waregem, Kluisbergen, Oudenaarde, Geraardsbergen and Oosterzele, will give you the chance to sample all the above climbs (with options to add many more). Spread it over a few days, spending a night in any of the above, for a more leisurely experience.

If that all sounds a bit like hard work then stay in the north to enjoy peaceful canals, quiet country lanes and, most importantly, flat routes. A great option is to cycle the three stunning cities of Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. Start in Ostend and take a short diversion to the handsome seaside town of De Haan, before heading south-east to Bruges and Ghent, finishing in Brussels. Avoiding the main roads, the entire trip is about 145km one-way – perfect for an easy five-day jaunt.

Mountain biking in Belgium

In the 1990s the R?seau Autonome de Voies Lentes was established in the Wallonia region of Belgium. RAVeL, literally translated as ‘Autonomous Network of Slow Routes’, created a network of off-road routes dedicated to walkers and cyclists, utilising tow-paths, disused railway lines and other trails.

There are a number of options available, including Route Two, which runs north from Mariembourg to Hoegaarden. It’s a ride of just over 115km that takes in sleepy villages and the hills of Hesbaye. Along the way there are castles and gardens to explore. Visit the RAVeL website for more information.

If cruising leafy off-road tracks is too low-octane for you, then head to Belgium’s only trail park. Called Filthy Trails, the park is situated in the Maasvallei, a 250-acre expanse of forest, lakes and trails near Maasmechelen.

Filthy trails mountain bike park: filthy trails mountain bike park

Photo by Landscape Magazine:

The park has options for all mountain-bikers, from downhill demons to enduro enthusiasts, with all abilities catered for. For beginners, there is the Snaketrail, an easy route on which to practise riding berms and drop-offs.

For those who like to feel the air beneath their wheels, there are the aptly-named Flight and Wings trails. The park also has five cross-country routes, ranging from 5km to 13km, again offering something for all levels of rider. See the Filthy Trails website for more information.

What non-cycling activities are there?

A little bit of culture should be high on anyone’s list while in Belgium – it has many museums and galleries to visit. Among the more offbeat are the Herg? Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve, 30km south of Brussels, dedicated to the creator of Tintin; the Centre of Comic Strip Art, housed in the Waucquez Warehouses in Brussels; and the Gueze museum, dedicated to all things beer.?

When’s best to go?

Spring through to early autumn is best for cycling, avoiding the cold and dank Belgian winter. To understand Belgium’s cycling culture, a trip in late March or April, to coincide with one of the spring classics that brings thousands Belgians out on to the nation’s roadsides, can’t be bettered.

Away from cycling, if you’re in Ghent during mid-September, look out for the OdeGand, a day of music on the city’s canals for which one ticket gets you into more than 50 concerts, spanning everything from flamenco to classical. Alternatively, if chocolate is your thing, head to Bruges in April for the annual chocolate festival Choco-Lat?.

How’s best to get there?

Belgium is a relatively small country with a great road and rail network, so it’s easy to get around. Gateways into the country include the international airports in Brussels and Antwerp, the seaports at Dunkirk (30km east of the Belgian border) and Zeebrugge, and the international rail station in Brussels.?

Bruges, Ghent, and Mariembourg all have domestic railway stations, while the station at Genk is just 15 minutes from Maasmechelen. Check the b-rail website for advice on taking your bike on Belgium’s trains.

Where to stay

In Ghent, sample some Belgian luxury in the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof. The hotel has 158 rooms right in the heart of the city – doubles with breakfast start from €139. A cheaper option is to try a hostel. There are 11 in the city with prices from €21.50 pppn for a private room – see for options.

Brussels has a huge selection of hotels for all wallets, but you can also camp. Just on the outskirts of the city is the Camping Caravanning Club Brussels. Pitches start from €10 for a tent and two adults.

In Mariembourg stay at the Manoir de la Motte, for €85 for a double room and breakfast. Alternatives include La Cinqui?me Saison, 20 minutes south on the French border, which has doubles from €75.

If you’re heading to Maasmechelen for the mountain biking, try the Basil B&B. This restored townhouse has six bedrooms with doubles from €100 including breakfast. Alternatively, camp at Camping Soetedal, from €21 for a tent and two adults.

By admin on July 8, 2014 | Mountain Bikes
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Adventure Cycling fundraising campaign exceeds goal

National Bike Month initiative raises $160,000 for the U.S. Bicycle Route System.

U.S. Bicycle Route System adds 800 miles of new routes

MISSOULA, Mont. (BRAIN) — The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has added 800 miles of designated bike routes to its U.S.

Adventure Cycling ties Bike Month to U.S. Bicycle Route System fundraising campaign

MISSOULA, Mont. (BRAIN) — Adventure Cycling hopes to raise $125,000 this month for the U.S.