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The tree branch blocking Manito Blvd.

I suspect it has already been removed. Lots of chatter about it on the police/fire scanner.

But for a time this morning, a fallen tree branch blocked 90% of Manito Boulevard — all four lanes — at about 18th or 19th.

There was just enough room for a bicycle to get by.

If you do one thing this morning, do this…

Why am I up so early? It's time to get the party started for Bike To Work Week with the traditional Breakfast Kick-Off! Head down to Riverfront Park from 7am-9am. There will be lots of pancakes, coffee, and BIKES. 

Image courtesy of Hank Greer from Cycling Spokane.

See you there!

The reality of bicycle commuting

Bike to Work Week is coming up next month.

I'm a fan. Taking part in the 2008 event changed my life, as they say. I'm still grateful to those who encouraged me to do it.

But at the risk of sounding like a traitor to the two-wheel movement, let me tell you something. Riding a bike to work just isn't for everyone.

I am able to do it because:

1) The distance is right.

2) My morning route is easy, so I don't arrive at the office in a lather.

3) If I need an automobile during the day, I have access to my company's fleet cars.

4) I don't have to pick up a child during the day and take the kid to the dentist, et cetera.

5) If my bike experiences a mechanical problem I can't deal with, I can either walk it the rest of the way or my wife can put our rack on the car and come get me.

6) I'm in reasonably good health.

So with all those factors in my favor, I wouldn't feel right saying everyone ought to do it. That would be a tad preachy.

But the work commute isn't the only opportunity for bike riding, of course. You could just ride in your neighborhood or to the store and back. You name it.

There's nothing wrong with starting slow.

So let me ask you. How long has it been since you rode a bicycle?

If it has been a while, I want to suggest something.

Consider giving it a try. You might discover the same thing I did.

Riding a bike feels good.

Sure, I need the exercise. But the real reason I'm still riding six years after that first Bike to Work Week is that it's fun.

Bike to Work Week breakfast

Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey and his Pekinese, "Buddy", get ready to ride Wed. evening, Aug. 18, 2010, along with Spokane Valley Cyclists FOR the Broadway Safety Project in a "Pedal with the Politicians", to look first hand at bike lanes and safety issues in the Spokane Valley. Former councilman Bill Gothman (blue helmet) also participated in the ride. SR file photo.

A pancake breakfast to celebrate Bike to Work Week is planned for 7 to 9 a.m. Thursday at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place. If you plan to attend by bike, CenterPlace is right next to the Mirabeau Point trailhead on the Centennial Trail. And I'm sure no one would mind if you arrived by car. The breakfast is free, so stop in to support our cycling community.

Tuesday Video: Bike To Work PSA from 1993

Happy Bike to Work Week! In honor of the big celebration, check out this hilarious public service announcement Transportation Alternatives created for Bike to Work Week back in 1993.


  

How to start conversation with cyclist

1. Ever been doored?

2. Do you experience numbness in your most private areas?

3. How many bikes are there in your garage?

4. How many times have you had a bike stolen?

5. What most bugs you about certain other bicyclists?

Free breakfast to kick off Bike to Work Week

BICYCLING — Bicycle commuting — and all of its benefits in terms of health, environment and money savings — will be celebrated in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene with activities during Bike to Work Week, May 13-18.

  • Pre-register to get the most out of each city's offerings.

Spokane's Bike to Work Week riders will kick off with what's become a traditional free pancake breakfast Monday (May 13) in Riverfront Park, 7 a.m. at  Riverfront Park.  Riders can log their mileage online for neat comparisons, enjoy "energizer stations" supported by local businesses on Wednesday (May 15), and enjoy a wrap-up celebration with prizes and refreshments at NoLi Brewery on Friday (May 17).

Coeur d'Alene's Bike to Work Week starts with a kickk-off ride from Silver Lake Mall to the Coeur d'Alene Library for coffee and doughnuts.

Read on for other events through the week in Coeur d'Alene including safety classes, moonlight ride, movies, beer tasging, repair clinic, scavenger hunt and more.

Bike to Work Week Registrati​on is now open!

In terms of my attitude toward cycling to work, I always return to something Barb Chamberlain told the Spokesman a few years ago: “I think people would be scared off if they had to change their whole life all at once. But it’s so doable, once it’s part of your routine.”

We’re all creatures of habit, and it takes a simple event like Bike To Work week to make us realize change is easily within our reach. In addition to the excellent health benefits, especially cardiovascular, I hope readers realize the impact of this alternative commuting method: Biking to work at least four days a week (presumably eight miles, round trip), would save yourself 54 gallons of gas annually and 1,140 pounds of carbon emissions.

But riding a bike is still so much fun. “It’s like being a kid again,” Chamberlain said, “if you remember when having a bike meant freedom.”  

Registration is now open for Spokane Bike to Work Week, which includes a week-long team and individual Commute Challenge and activity-filled week. Bike to Work Week, a nationwide event encouraging bike commuting, occurs every year in mid-May. The event challenges participants to take trips they would usually take by car on a bicycle instead — whether to the store, school, a meeting, work or elsewhere.

From Erika Prins at Bike To Work Week: Participants are invited to register prior to May 13th, then enter their mileage online daily to compete in the Commute Challenge. Anyone may participate by registering individually or in teams. Winners in several categories are awarded t-shirts and prizes. The week’s events, all open to the public, include: Pancake Breakfast from 7-9am on Monday, May 13th at Riverfront Park Swing by on your ride to work for pancakes provided by Mountain Gear, coffee donated by Roast House, speakers, sponsors’ booths and socializing with other bicyclists.  

Tuesday Video: Bicycle Rights

In lieu of Bike To Work week, here's all ye need to know about bicycle rights….



  

“Smart Cycling - Traffic Skills 101” classes coming to Spokane, scholarships available

On the momentum of Bike Month in Spokane, there's an important upcoming event that could assist potential riders who are reluctant about getting out on the road: The League of American Bicyclists is offering “Smart Cycling – Traffic Skills 101” classes which give cyclists the confidence they need to ride safely, and legally, on streets.

You'll learn principles of riding with traffic, predicting and avoiding motorist errors, bike handling skills, basic bicycle maintenance, and essential gear. The class is taught by certified instructors and includes a student manual. It's recommended for adults and children above age 15 and students ages 15 to 17 must have a parent present. Class hours are spent both in the classroom and on street settings to prepare cyclists for a full understanding of vehicular cycling. Bring a bike in good condition and a helmet and one class is for women only.

Proof that you’re never too old to bike to work

Bike To Work week wrapped up last Friday and what a week it was. I talked to a lot of people though who just kept coming up with excuses as to why they couldn't participate. They should meet Lucette Gilbert, who says she's in her "high 70's," the latest star in Streetfilms' series on New Yorkers who ride.

  

My NYC Biking Story: Lucette Gilbert from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Ride Of Silence








There was an amazing turnout last night for the Ride Of Silence- around 150 cyclists showed up, many just off work. Mayor Mary Verner spoke briefly, we rode together silently and wore bright green signs that said "Share The Road" and "Ride Of Silence." It was a very moving event.

Join us in a “Ride Of Silence” tonight

















Ghost bike image courtesy of Cycling Spokane, where cyclist David Squires was killed in March 2010 at Division and Sprague. 

Similar to hundreds of cities around the world, Spokane will hold a Ride Of Silence
at 6pm to mourn those who have been killed and to raise awareness of cyclists on the road. The mission of the worldwide Ride of Silence is to honor bicyclists killed, promote sharing the road, and send a message about bike safety.

A group will be tonight to ride through downtown Spokane at 6:00pm, meeting in the parking lot on the southeast corner of Riverside Ave and Howard. Cyclists are asked to ride no faster than 12 mph and remain silent during the ride. There are no sponsors and no registration fees. You are merely asked to join and share the message on a 3.4 mile ride. RSVP here.

  

Bike To Work breakfast kick-off photos


It was cold and wet this morning but that didn't stop the breakfast kick-off in Riverfront Park for Bike To Work week, which was well attended by two-wheel commuters. There was a welcoming by Mayor Mary Verner, "Pedal With The Politicians" ride with Councilmembers Richard Rush and Jon Snyder and city staff, a bike valet/corral set up with Pedals2People (for which I am on the board), coffee from Roast House and pancakes from Mountain Gear. Thanks to organizers including Barb Chamberlain who was interviewed by the Spokesman's Paul Turner in today's paper.

  

“Don’t be a jerk” bike ad campaign

John Leguizamo hasn't been this funny since "The Pest."

But I'm in the mood for some transportation humor as Bike To Work week fast approaches. (Have you registered yet? Do it now!) The New York Department of Transportation has a Don't Be A Jerk campaign featuring Leguizamo, Mario Batali, and Paulina Porizkova behaving badly on bicycles.

The DOT says the campaign "humorously highlights the essential dos and don’ts of safe, responsible biking."

You tell me:

  

Spokane Bikes featuring Bike To Work Week is May 16th-May 20th


Bike To Work Week is almost here folks. It's easy to register and an important important way of being counted so policy makers know we’re here and we need infrastructure. As mentioned, there are a few changes this year as Bike To Work Spokane is now Spokane Bikes and May is Spokane Bike Month.

But the great traditions continue:

Monday, May 16: Kickoff Breakfast with pancakes by Mountain Gear and great Roasthouse Coffee “Ride the Edge” blend

Wednesday, May 18: Energizer Stations around Spokane County hosted by area businesses and organizations

Friday, May 20: The “Bike FROM Work” Wrap-Up Party Friday at the Steam Plant Grill

It only takes two minutes to create your new profile at www.SpokaneBikes.org so you can receive news and updates about Bike to Work Week and other great Spokane-area bike events in May and throughout the year.

  

Bike To Work Spokane is now “Spokane Bikes”


In terms of my attitude toward cycling to work, I keep coming back to something Bike To Work organizer Barb Chamberlain told the Spokesman a while back: “I think people would be scared off if they had to change their whole life all at once. But it’s so doable, once it’s part of your routine.”

We’re all creatures of habit, and it takes a simple event like Bike To Work week to make us realize change is easily within our reach. In addition to the excellent health benefits, especially cardiovascular, we hope readers realize the impact of this alternative commuting method: Biking to work at least four days a week (presumably eight miles, round trip), would save yourself 54 gallons of gas annually and 1,140 pounds of carbon emissions.

But for us, riding a bike is still so much fun. “It’s like being a kid again,” Chamberlain said, “if you remember when having a bike meant freedom."

I'm happy to report t's that ime again. Bike To Work Week is fast approaching but there are some new changes. First, the name: Spokane Bikes. Read on, from Spokane Bikes:

With our name change, Bike to Work Spokane becomes Spokane Bikes, and we’re promoting all of May as Spokane Bike Month.

What does this mean for Bike to Work Week? All our great traditions continue:

Monday, May 16: Kickoff Breakfast with pancakes by Mountain Gear and great Roasthouse Coffee “Ride the Edge” blend

Wednesday, May 18: Energizer Stations around Spokane County hosted by area businesses and organizations

Friday, May 20: The “Bike FROM Work” Wrap-Up Party Friday at the Steam Plant Grill
Two changes:

The old registration system is going away.

Please take about 2 minutes to create your new profile at www.SpokaneBikes.org so you can receive news and updates about Bike to Work Week and other great Spokane-area bike events in May and throughout the year.

Your registration is also important as a way of being counted so policy makers know we’re here and we need infrastructure!

Bent: Back In The Saddle Again … Ouch

On Facebook (and with his permission to post here), Bent discusses the pains — and numbness — of cycling long miles during Bike To Work Week: “You know how they put those really comfortable face pillows on massage tables … you know, the one’s with the hole in the middle so you can lay face down without smashing your nose? Well, the person who invented those needs to get busy incorporating that technology into bicycle seats… while cranking out 24.5 miles on the bike today, I had a lot of time to think about that /just sayin’.” To which another poster responded that she’d gotten her husband “cooling gel packs to keep certain important parts comfy” while he rides his bike.

Coeur d’Alene Ped Bike/Facebook:Thanks to everyone who showed up at the Parks and Rec meeting on Monday to show support for bike lanes on 15th street. They approved it and now it’s going to Public Works next Monday at 4 p.m. at the Public Library.”

Question: Do you ride a bike w/a comfortable seat? Would you recommend the same type of seat for Bent’s long rides?

Bike To Work Week Starts Today

I rode Black Velvet to work this morning. That’s the name my wife has given to the Giant bike that she bought me for my birthday last November. She calls her bike Silver Streak. Smooth rides. As I mentioned in a weekend Wild Card, I took it out for a test drive during the weekend, down and around the waterfront. As long as the days are nice, I plan to ride the bike to and from work this week and beyond — to burn off 1908 calories per week (not counting weekends). I used this calculator to figure out how many calories will come of the waist line by riding to work.

Question: Do you name your vehicles, motored or leg-powered ones?

Bike To Work Week: Two Days Remain

Yes, there’s still time to register…but do it NOW!

In the meantime, check this video from Bike To Work Spokane that serves as an excellent overview of events and how you can get involved today.

Bike-To-Work Week Starts Monday

On Facebook, Coeur d’Alene Ped Bike points out that the local Bike-to-Work Week starts Monday, adding: “So dust off your bikes.” Do you plan to participate in Bike-to-Work Week? Or do you already bike to work?

Earth Day: from someone who started it all

We’ve read a lot of articles the last couple weeks about Earth Day - articles looking back over the last 40 years and articles questioning the place Earth Day and environmental issues hold in the current economic and political landscape.

But far and away the most fascinating article to date was one published in Yale’s Environment 360, a publication of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. 

Denis Hayes, a national coordinator for the first Earth Day in 1970 and international chair of Earth Day 2010 weighed in on the lack of real depth in celebrating Earth Day (a mainstream phenomenon he calls it), commenting that, “Earth Day is a Mississippi River phenomenon – a mile wide but only a few inches deep”, as well as reminiscing on a time when Earth Day was a bipartisan objective and what went wrong there.  * below photo is of Hayes - courtesty of University of Albany.


Much of Hayes editorial is devoted to a subject that has been debated to death, both here on this blog and on every like blog and news source in the world, which is the only real solution to the ecological problems (and economical problems related to energy) that we face is legislation that has teeth and accountability of our elected officials that this is the only way. 

Hayes says about this: “This won’t happen as a result of Congressional brilliance and courage. Although Congress has some brilliant, courageous individual members, as an institution it is dumb and cowardly. The only way that Congress will act intelligently and boldly on this issue is if we give it no choice.

A large block of Americans must make the climate disruption issue an initial voting screen. If a candidate is ok on climate, then we will look at the rest of her record. To move this issue forward, our voices must be as loud as those hollering for the right to carry a Colt into Starbucks or for saving Granny from death panels.”

Check after the jump for other excerpts from this wonderfully written piece.

Register for Bike to Work Week

As you’re killing time before you head down to Main Street for today’s Earth Day Spokane - Takin’ in to the Streets community celebration, be sure to log on to Bike to Work Spokane to register for this year’s Bike to Work Week.  Back and better than ever, Bike to Work Week Spokane will take place May 16 - May 22nd. 

Go to www.biketoworkspokane.org. In the upper right-hand corner enter the email address and password you used to register last year. You’ll be taken to a page where you can click to update your information for this year’s Bike to Work Week.
Remember to update your estimated miles and clubs you belong to. The system should already have you checked off as a 2009 participant—if you took part in 2008, check that box too.

New participants can register by going to htttp://bit.ly/BTWS2010. Share it with all your friends and have them check out our News/Events page for a list of bike safety classes coming up: http://bit.ly/BTWSpoNews.

Remember, you can check out Bike to Work Spokane on Facebook and Twitter also:
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/BiketoWorkSpokane
Twitter: @Bike2WrkSpokane


And here’s a note from Bike to Work Spokane co-chair Barb Chamberlain:
“It’s really important that you register! We want to have good data showing the importance of biking as part of our transportation system and we need you to stand up and be counted.”
Recent Bike to Work Week Spokane news and events after the jump.

Transportation Advocacy Day tomorrow and other bike news

The Legislative Session is a crucial time for you to be heard. Yesterday we received an email from Bike To Work Spokane titled “Spokes and Saddles: Spokane Area Bike News” that was so comprehensive in its links, contact information, and updates, we hade to share.

Here’s the release:

January 28: Transportation Advocacy Day in Olympia, House Transportation Committee Hearings on Bike Bills

This Thursday, Jan. 28 at 3:30pm, the House Transportation Committee will hold hearings on two bills that relate to biking, both of which are actively supported by the Cascade Bicycle Club, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, Transportation Choices and other groups working on active transportation issues.

HB 2911: Creating Complete Streets Grant Program
HB 3001: Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Education in Traffic Schools

A list of House Transportation Committee members: http://bit.ly/WaHTransp. Local legislators Alex Wood (3rd District), John Driscoll (6th District), and Matt Shea (4th District) serve on the committee.

If you’d like to submit comments, contact your state representatives: http://bit.ly/WaReps

The bills are being heard on Transportation Advocacy Day, when people from around the state descend on the capitol to meet legislatures and lobby for transportation policy that addresses the needs of all users, not just some.

BIKE TO WORK WEEK SET FOR 2010

Mark your calendars: Bike To Work Week in Spokane will take place May16th-22nd and hopes to build on the success of last year’s event which drew 1,472 registered participants.

In terms of our attitude toward cycling to work, DTE thinks of something Bike To Work organizer Barb Chamberlain told the Spokesman a while back: “I think people would be scared off if they had to change their whole life all at once. But it’s so doable, once it’s part of your routine.” We’re all creatures of habit, and it takes a simple event like Bike To Work week to make us realize change is easily within our reach. In addition to the excellent health benefits, especially cardiovascular, we hope readers realize the impact of this alternative commuting method: Biking to work at least four days a week (presumably eight miles, round trip), would save yourself 54 gallons of gas annually and 1,140 pounds of carbon emissions.

But for us, riding a bike is still so much fun. “It’s like being a kid again,” Chamberlain said, “if you remember when having a bike meant freedom.”

After the jump, you’ll read the press release sent out from 3rd District State Representative candidate and BTW volunteer Andy Billig.

Bike To Work Week: “Hey, Don’t Stop Riding!”

Just because Bike To Work Week is over doesn’t mean the ride has to end.

A recent email from BTWW Spokane asked those who got started this year if they are still riding? On their site, they will be sharing “newbie profiles,” and you can send your thoughts on the Bike To Work experience at info@biketoworkspokane.org.


We’re interested too in a question for veterans—- any tips or routes that have made a difference over the years?

After the jump, you’ll find an introduction to the New Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Spokane, and a list of upcoming Bike Events.

Friday Quote

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. —-H.G. Wells

City of Spokane Master Bike Plan Vote at City Council Monday May 18th

We know you’re not tired of riding your bike but City Council Meetings might be another issue. Well, the Master Bicycle plan will be presented to the City Council at the May 18th session for adoptions and inclusion into the Comprehensive Plan.

The Master Bicycle Plan lays out a 20-year implementation timeline and is essential to future efforts to get funding for infrastructure, educational programs, and other means of improving bicycling in Spokane. For copies of the Master Bike Plan, Planned Bikeway Map and Comprehensive Plan Changes, see www.spokaneplanning.org.