weekendcycling

Durham: Ride for Clive 6/6

Just wanted to give a quick heads up on an upcoming bike ride in Durham:

On Saturday June 6, Bull City Cycling and McKinney will host the Inaugural Clive Sweeney Memorial Ride: Ride for Clive.

from the event organizers:

In remembrance of Clive and to promote bike safety, Bull City Cycling and McKinney are hosting Ride for Clive on June 6 starting at 8am in front of the Durham Performing Arts Center. Participants will bike 12 miles on the American Tobacco Trail from the American Tobacco Campus to Southpoint and back. If this is an event you are interested in, please join us! It is a free, recreational ride for people of all ages.

For more information or to RSVP, visit http://rideforclive.com.

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Up in Alaska

Even in alaska you can be one of the Pai Gow poker players at the pai gow tiles of CasinoBonus.org!

photo of bike parked along a snowy road
Above: Biking through the Alaskan winter while the roads are covered in snow. (photo credit: Up in Alaska)

I found this photo (there are many more photos, with accompanying stories) at Up in Alaska, the blog of a mountain biker in Alaska. They were a really interesting read.

Any thoughts on mountain biking in the snow?

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Joy of riding

Jim, a Durham resident, bike commuter and general cyclist, and owner of Durham Bike Racks, a website that uses the Google Maps API to plot the locations of bike racks in Durham, took time to answer a few questions.

Nick: Hey Jim, please introduce yourself and tell us a little about yourself and your interest in cycling.

Jim: Thanks Nick. I live in Durham with my wife and two boys. I’ve lived here for about 13 years and I currently work for the City of Durham as a Sr. Budget Analyst and CIP Coordinator. My interest in cycling began at the same time it begins for most people. I was about 5 years old when I learned how to ride without training wheels. I never really stopped riding, but I consciously took it up as an interest when I began commuting to work by bike nearly 10 years ago. That’s when I got my first bicycle from a local bike shop as opposed to a department store bike.

I still use that bike as my beater, but I have another one now that I just acquired in December. My 10 year old bike is a hybrid and we’ve been through a lot. In addition to commuting to work on it, I also rode it in Cycle NC this past fall across North Carolina. I can say that preparing for that ride took my interest in cycling up a few notches. I did a lot of riding leading up to that event. Although I commute by bike in all seasons, I do not really ride recreationally in the winter. I enjoy riding in every other season and do it as much as possible.

This year I began keeping a log of how I get to and from various places. As of February 14, I’ve only driven the car on 5 days this year which includes 3 days on a trip to visit family. I just don’t care for driving and try to avoid it if I can.

Nick: You have a great site that proves to be a nifty and very useful resource to cyclists in Durham. How did you come up with the idea for the site? Tell us a little about its development.

Jim: I first thought of it a while ago. I was supposed to have a meeting at Elmo’s on Ninth Street and I wanted to ride my bike there. I searched the internet to see if there were any bike racks nearby, but couldn’t find anything useful. Once there, I couldn’t find a bike rack, so I locked my bike to a sign in the parking lot. I found out later that there were racks a reasonable distance from there that I could’ve used which would’ve made me more comfortable.

That planted the seed. I then heard about Google Maps and saw some of the possibilities that provided. I’ve always been somewhat interested in techie stuff, so I thought I’d give this type of web development a try. At the time my bike was about dead. I was waiting on parts to replace the entire drive train and I had time on my hands. I did some research and mostly borrowed code from other Google hacks.

I then began taking my camera everywhere and snapping pictures of bike racks. I used my GPS to mark the spots so I could map the coordinates in my web application. I use a simple XML file to hold the data. The response to the site has been very positive, but I’m not sure how much others actually use it. I use it because I don’t want to have to think about how I’m going to lock my bike up when I go somewhere. It was also quite fun to create something unique and hopefully useful to at least this niche of the population.

Nick: You probably read about Durham’s CityRacks program. You have a unique perspective of the racks, in that you are out there mapping and photographing new racks as you learn about them. What do you think of the progress/ success of the program?

Jim: Soon after the program was settled upon, Durham’s Bike/Ped Coordinator left her position. I think the program lost momentum after that as that position sat vacant for months. I know the position is filled now and the person actually works right down the hall from me. I need to check in with him to see how things are going. I’m not aware that any progress has taken place as of yet. I could be wrong.

Nick: If there was one (or two) things that you could do to improve Durham’s bicycle friendliness, what would it be?

Jim: That’s a tough one. I’d say bike racks on every corner would be a good start. Seriously though, I think Durham has a lot to offer at this point. I would like to see trails and greenways continue to be developed, and I would especially like to see the existing trails maintained properly. I like the ideas that came up for bike lockers and other amenities that would encourage reluctant people to try bicycle commuting.

There are other very good ideas floating around about lane marking schemes and education for motorists that would be quite useful as well. I think the trails and greenways really encourage the recreational riders to get out and have fun, so I’d put that at the top of my list as it would have the most impact.

Nick: Any further comments or advice you’d like to give to anyone?

Jim: People often ask me why I ride to work. They often assume it is related to the environment or health, but I simply do it because it’s fun and I like it. I like to remind them to think back to when they were kids and remember the sheer joy of riding a bicycle. There’s nothing quite like it.

Nick: Thanks for your time. :)

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