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Top 5 Ways to Celebrate #BikeMonth (a little early)

Here are 5 activities to get you ready for National Bike Month.

National Bike Month officially starts May 1, but can’t wait that long so we are getting a jump on the festivities!  Just look at what we have planned for next week…

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Kids Bike Safety Rodeo!

April 2, 2016 UGA Veterinary Medical Center Parking Lot

10:00am-2:00pm

This Saturday, we are once again teaming with Safe Kids Athens to host a kids bike safety rodeo, as part of their Safety Day events at the UGA Vet School. The kids bike rodeo will provide elementary school kids a safe (and fun) space to practice essential on-bike skills, such as avoiding obstacles, signaling turns, and stopping on a dime.  BikeAthens and Safe Kids Athens will also provide helmet fit checks and basic bike checks.  For more information, check out the flyer!

This Saturday!!!

This Saturday!!!

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The Many Benefits of a New Bike Plan

 

In 1999, to some fanfare, Athens prepared to stripe the county’s first bike lanes (this almost 25 years after Athens first attempts at a comprehensive bikeway system).  Two years later, ACC approved a Bike Master Plan (BMP) with a 2020 planning horizon.  The BMP designated 16 routes that would create a web of connected bikeways.  At the dawn of the 2016, a review of BMP progress demonstrates it is time for a new plan: one that acknowledges the sea-change in bike planning, one that incorporates current, inclusive designs to promote and encourage safe use of our public streets, one that gives us true transportation choices. A new bike plan will bring many benefits, among them: advanced, best-practice designs; improved design-selection criteria; and low-cost solutions to quickly create a connected network of safe and comfortable bike routes.

Yes, the current BMP is old, but age is not necessarily a disqualification.  The 16 identified bike routes are ideal future corridors, and the map-level plan remains great aspirational goal.  A new BMP, however, is necessary to update the standards for designing successful bike project.  When the 2001 BMP was adopted, the main bike-infrastructure design guide was the 1999 American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Guide for the Development of Bicycles Facilities (PDF).  The recommendations found in the guide—wide outside lanes, discouragement of protected bike lanes, no use of green, high-vis markings—have since been superseded by the 2012 update of the AASHTO Guide (PDF).  Furthermore, in the past 15 years, new designs have become accepted and understood to increase the safety and accessibility of urban biking.  The Federal Highway Administration, for example, now endorses the North American City Transportation Officials Urban Bikeway Design Guide. The NACTO guide provides design guidance for the types of bike lanes that lead to measurable increases in the number of people biking, with a reduction in crashes.  Want to build a protected bike lane, bike boulevard, or a bike box? Look to NACTO.  Updating the BMP to reflect these advances in bike planning and design, will make it easier to bring these designs to Athens streets.

ACC’s own data reflects a need and desire for more inclusive bikeways that are designed for people worried about and/or uncomfortable riding in traffic. During the ’01 BMP process, 61% of respondents reported being “uncomfortable” on a shared street. Only 41% claimed to be “very comfortable” in a bike lanes.  New designs address these concerns. Protected bike lanes combine the comfort of a off-street path with the convenience of a bike lane.  Look at the two children using a protected bike lane in MA:

So easy, a 4 year old can use it!

So easy, a 4 year old can use it!

This is a bike lane an 8 year old can use.  This is a bike lane an 80 year old can use. This is a bike lane we can all use with “comfort and ease.

As standards for bike lane design have evolved in the past 15 years, so have the metrics used to select which type of bike facility to install on specific streets.  When the ’01 BMP set out to measure existing conditions, they used a formula called bike-Level of Service (BLOS). BLOS inputs various street conditions—lane width, traffic speeds, percentage of truck traffic— in attempt to quantify the comfort level of hypothetical cyclists.  The lower the number the formula generates, the more comfortable the street for someone on bike, in theory. The output is then converted to a grade: ‘A’ for the most comfortable, ‘F’ the least comfortable.  By changing the data to reflect potential improvements, we can see how adding bike lanes, or other designs would improve BLOS. This can help guide design selection, by identifying designs that provide the most BLOS improvement. But given it’s limitations, it is probably best that a new bike master simply disregard or de-emphasize BLOS (for a more detailed discussion of BLOS, look to the bottom of this post).

 

 

If we do not use BLOS, how do we choose the correct designs?  Luckily, there are much simpler methods for choosing bike improvements.  For example, look at this simple decision matrix.

 

A simple decision matrix

A simple decision matrix

3 Steps to "Facility Selection"

3 Steps to “Facility Selection”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of jamming a bunch of numbers into a spreadsheet, this design-selection guide is intuitive to understand—the more cars, the faster the cars—the more protection for people on bike. A similarly simplified selection criteria would make the next Athens bike plan more transparent and accessible. More importantly, such a plan would ensure installed-designs address real-world concerns rather than the output of the BLOS formula.

The 2001 BMP further presented improvement recommendations for all 16 routes, but because it was developed before the revolution in low-cost bike infrastructure designs, the recommendations relied heavily on major reconstruction. Faced with the extreme costs of widening multiple streets, the ’01 BMP often relied on signs and “sharrows.”  (Signs & Sharrows are not infrastructure and they may not improve the safety of the street.)  Cities around Georgia are making quick progress on their bike networks by searching for low-cost opportunities to add bike lanes within the existing right of way.  Athens needs a new BMP to look for these important, inexpensive opportunities.  We need a BMP, that will go bargain shopping, if you will. Creating more space within existing right of way keeps costs down; and it can also speed up the timetable for network completion. We’ve watched and waited for 15 years as the ’01 BMP make slow progress towards partial implementation.  We can do better.

Before the current plan expires, we must adopt a bicycle master plan that reflects the new reality of bike planning and design. To meet its mission “to provide an open and responsive government, facilitating a positive environment for individuals to obtain a high quality of life and local organizations to achieve success by providing innovative, quality services and responsible stewardship of the community’s resources, to benefit current and future generations,”  Athens-Clarke County should fund a bike master plan to provide innovative, quality bike infrastructure. With such a plan in place, we can move forward toward a safe, equitable, and efficient bike network that provides true transportation choices for all of us.





 

Ok, let’s dive deep into the challenges of relying solely on BLOS.

  1. Gathering the raw data to feed into the formula consumes a lot of human resources and the operations of the formula are obscure. Someone must gather all the data on lane-width, pavement condition, truck traffic etc…and then feed it into a complex, weighted formula. It is a black box.
  2. The output BLOS grades give little indication of what the street looks like or how comfortable the street actually is for people on bike. For example, HWY 441 (Commerce Rd), HWY 29, and College Station Rd all had a BLOS of ‘C’ but they have much different characteristics and vastly different comfort levels.  At the time, College Station had 5 foot bike lanes, while HWY 441 and HWY 29 had wide shoulders. We have trouble believing people on bike would give these roads the same grade.
  3. The BMP “goal” BLOS of C does not improve conditions for most riders. The ’01 Master plan surveyed 176 people about their riding habits. Only 21% self-reported as a novice.  Even with the population skewed towards experienced cyclists, only 41% of respondents reported they felt “ very comfortable” in a traditional bike lane. Contrast to the 76% that felt “very comfortable” on a trail. If experienced cyclists are not “very comfortable” in a bike lane, we rhetorically ask how a network of BLOS ‘C’ roads such as HWY 441 (Commerce Rd), HWY 29, and Kathwood Rd.—roads without even bikes lanes!—will assuage people’s concerns.
  4. The BLOS method does not consider the gaps in the network or the stress of navigating a complex intersection.  For example, Alps has wide bike lanes which connect to Baxter.  Nonetheless, it is extremely stressful to make a left turn from Alps to Baxter when you are on a bike.  You must either cross in the crosswalk as pedestrian (which eliminates the benefits of biking), or you must cross two lanes of fast moving traffic to enter the left turn lane.

One final note—the ’01 BMP also revealed startling lack of low-stress streets in Athens, at least inside the study area.  Examining the 2001 BLOS data (which to BikeAthens knowledge has not been updated), further underscores the need for a new BMP to help Athens better create a network of safe, low-stress bikeways.  The ’01 BMP measured 125 street segments, on 54 streets.  107 had a BLOS of ‘D’ or lower.  Only 5 have a ‘B’ or higher.  Of the 26 segments making up the 16 official bike routes, 15 still have a BLOS of D or worse. Currently, only 6 of the street segments, at most, have a BLOS of ‘B.’  We say BLOS of ‘B,’ at best, because adding a bike lane is no guarantee of sharp BLOS improvement.  College Station’s first section of bike lane was included in the original analysis, and that segment received a ‘C.’

True, a low percentage of ‘A’ and ‘B’ BLOS roads may not matter, if those ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads were connected!  But when bike infrastructure is isolated, it dampens the impact of the existing infrastructure.  A bike lane that is interrupted or connects to a busy street does little to encourage people to use the bike lane. Athens bike network should have a central web of infrastructure that is very comfortable for a majority of users of all abilities.

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Bike Improvements: Current and Arriving NASAWL*

*Not as soon as we’d like

In addition to the cool improvements to Lumpkin, here are updates about a few other local projects:

Riverbend Parkway goes GREEN

When ACC went to re-pave Riverbend Pkwy, they realized the lanes were veeeeery wide—almost 22 feet!  With all that space, when they re-paved the street, they marked-in Athens first buffered bike lane.  The buffered bike lane adds more space and clarity to street. At the intersection, ACC again used GREEN paint to highlight a potential conflict area. As you can see, the green lane directs bikes to avoid the right turn only lane.  This makes people on bikes more visible and should reduce the chance of a “right hook.”

Now everyone has some more elbow room

Now everyone has more elbow room

Green1

Green “Paint” highlights the bike lane

The green lane highlights how to avoid "right hooks"

The green lane highlights how to avoid “right hooks”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Baxter

Back in October, we wrote about the Baxter Re-Paving At the time, the permanent lane makings and not applied. Now that new stripes are baked into the street (almost literally!), its time for an update—

First, you may have noticed there are now “sharrows” in the center of the lane between Milledge and Rocksprings. ACC Transportation and Public Works placed them at our request. We asked for sharrows because the lane dimensions never allowed enough space for a 4-foot bike lane.  The lane widths for most of the block are tightly constrained to their minimums.  As we noted in October, the 3 feet of extra space on Baxter is a rideable shoulder.  It is not a bike lane and we did not want it marked as such. If you are riding, you can use the shoulder if you want. But given its narrow width, you may also ride in the travel lane to make yourself more visible, provide space to avoid objects in the street, and discourage un-safe passing.  The “sharrows” also alert drivers that people on bike may be in the travel lane.  Would we like a wide, protected bike lane on Baxter? Of course, but for this re-paving project, the only real option involved new lane configurations through different pavement markings.  It’s not ideal, but the “sharrow” clarifies of a tough situation.

The sharrow clarifies that that this is NOT a bike lane.

The sharrow clarifies that that this is NOT a bike lane.

Further down the hill, as Baxter snakes toward Alps (or vice versa), the source of stress is the stormwater drains, which encroach into the bike lane.  While ACC did not have the opportunity to correct this during the limited re-paving project, ACC Transportation and Public Works did respond to our concerns with new reflective markings that highlight the storm drains.  Again, not an ideal situation—but the ultimate solution was not available during the limited repaving opportunity.

College Station Update

Construction on the long-anticipated College Station bike lanes is scheduled to begin shortly, with ACC Transportation & Public Works expecting construction to be completed by fall! Yay!  The bike lanes will get riders to the College Station bridge, which is currently under construction–the GDOT website says its 53% complete.

We’ve received a lot of concerned comments about the bridge work.  If you have ridden or driven over the bridge, you’ve noticed half the bridge is complete and the lanes are open. However, the completed section does not have marked bike lanes (the total project is only 53% percent done).  We are looking into it, and GDOT has told us that finished bridge WILL have bike lanes.  The project should be finished this October, and we’ve been told it will have bike lanes by then. Of course, knowing the bike lanes will be added in October does not make the crossing less stressful for all the people who use College Station as their daily commuting corridor. Still, this is all the information we have at the moment. UPDATE: We’ve heard back and that seems as specific as GDOT can get.  So bike lanes will arrive sometime before October 31, weather permitting.

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MLK Day of Service–Thank You to All who Volunteered!

UPDATE: Thank you to all the volunteers who helped us clean the warehouse!  See read more about the event and pictures here!

Monday, January 18th–BRP Warehouse

As the t-shirts say, it’s not a day off, it’s a day-on.  And this MLK Day–Monday January 18th–the Bike Recycling Program needs your help recycling bikes and preparing our warehouse for a new year of providing free transportation options to fellow Athenians.

Like past years, a bulk of the work involves separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak, to determine which bikes stay in the warehouse and which bikes will go to the CHaRM Center. We will working from 10:00am to 1:00pm to strip unsalvageable bikes, sort quality parts, and reallocate storage space.  This event is kid friendly, as long as they are accompanied by parent or guardian.  Please wear closed-toed shoes and clothes that can (and will) get dirty.  We will provide water, some snacks, and all the tools you’ll need.

Thank you!!!

Current Sign-up Sheets

Title Date Open Spots  
Twilight Volunteers May 7, 2016 30
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Bicycles May Use Full Lane

When people are riding their bikes, seeing a Share the Road sign is a powerful affirmation of their rights as operators of legal vehicles. When people drive, Share the Road can be a gentle reminder to always be courteous to people on bikes and to give 3-feet passing distance.  However, rigorous examination of the sign’s effectiveness reveals a schism between how “cyclists” and “drivers” receive Share the Road’s message. The difference between the groups’ interpretations increases confusion and conflict. It leads us to conclude Athens-Clarke County should no longer use Share the Road signs on approved bicycle routes.  In its place, ACC should install the clear, informative, and unambiguous Bicycles May Use Full Lane.

R4-11

This argument has 3 points: 1) due to Share the Road’s unclear presentation, different user-groups have starkly different interpretations of its message 2) the Share the Road sign does not provide any relevant, actionable information, and 3) scientific research, engineering expertise, and bicycling education curricula all support the conclusion Bicycles May Use Full Lane more clearly announces the rights and responsibilities of people on bikes and in cars.

First: Share the Road has an ambiguous target group—who should share?  While this seems like a rhetorical question—the sign reminds drivers to be polite and give people on bike a wide-berth, right? Actually, many people behind the wheel see the opposite: they believe the sign is aimed at bicyclists, and they think the sign instructs people on bikes to quickly move to the right-most edge of the street.  This ambiguity about the sign’s intended audience (cars or bikes); this confusion about who should share (bikes or cars), led Bike Delaware to mount a successful campaign to remove the sign from all state roads. In 2013, DelDOT agreed to suspend installation of Share the Road signs, and replace Share the Road with Bicycles May Use Full Lane when maintenance requires.

 

Lumpkin, headed south towards Baxter

Lumpkin, headed south towards Baxter

Intersection of Westlake and Lumpkin

Westlake & Lumpkin

Milledge, just not of Southview Dr.

Milledge & Southview Dr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, the Share the Road sign also does not provide any information about legal rights and responsibilities.  Nor does the sign give any instruction about how cyclists and drivers should behave.  When developing the Bicycles May Use Full Lane, one technical advisory group stated: “The current signs [Share the Road and the bicycle silhouette] provided in the MUTCD cannot properly instruct road users in safe overtaking. […] This sign assembly does not convey a clear message, as different users have different understandings of what sharing of the road means” (Page 2).

Georgia state law certainly goes beyond simply encouraging people to share the road, it describes very specific behaviors. Under Georgia state law, when riding a bike you may ride in the center of the lane [§40-6-294]—indeed two people may even ride side-by-side [§40-6-294].  (Note the careful use of may versus must.) When passing someone on a bike, the driver must give 3-feet safe passage [§40-6-56].  These sections of code delineate specific actions; they prescribe behavior above-and-beyond the aspirational call to “share.”  Share the Road does not highlight the 3-foot safe passage statute.  It does not tell people where to position their bikes. State law is not reflected in the text.  State law is not reinforced by the signs’ graphics.  Anecdotally, at BikeAthens we often hear complaints from drivers about legal bicyclist conduct—complaints of “bikers using the left turn to turn left, or grumbles about people riding in the center of a narrow lane.  These are perfectly legal maneuvers that are being obscured by the overly-simplistic, “share the road.”

Third, ACC should install Bicycles May Use Full Lane on adopted bike routes that still lack bike lanes because the sign clearly and unambiguously describes safe, legal riding behavior.

On streets with narrow lanes, Westlake Rd (ACC Bike Route 6) for example, there is not enough space for a car and bike to operate side-by-side, with the legally required 3 feet separation.  To discourage drivers from attempting to squeeze past, bike-safety classes, ours included, teach students to ride in the center of the lane—use the full lane—to discourage dangerous passing.  (Note: Drivers may cross a double yellow line to pass a bike, if safe to do so. [§40-6-46 (c)]).  Bicycles May Use Full Lane thus summarizes an important lesson in safe-riding: on narrow roads the safest position may be the center of the lane. The technical guidelines found in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) similarly note, “The Bicycles May Use Full Lane (R4-11) sign (see Figure 9B-2) may be used on roadways where no bicycle lanes or adjacent shoulders usable by bicyclists are present and where travel lanes are too narrow for bicyclists and motor vehicles to operate side by side.The Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign may be used in locations where it is important to inform road users that bicyclists might occupy the travel lane.”  Truly, the Bicycles May Use Full Lane sign does more than merely reflect state law—it clarifies, informs, and educates everyone who drives or rides past.

Supporting this conclusion, the latest peer-reviewed research found Bicycles May Use Full Lane increased both knowledge of safety & the rules of the road among novice cyclists and car commuters (Share the Road signage did not).  The study surveyed 2,000 people, and the authors concluded: “‘Bicycles May Use Full Lane’ signage showed notable increases in comprehension among novice bicyclists and private motor vehicle commuters […].”  The study’s authors suggest,” departments of transportation consider replacing “Share the Road” signage with “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs, possibly in combination with shared lane markings, particularly in places where lawfully passing within the same lane is not possible.”

Bicycles May Use Full Lane’s clear, unambiguous message is more appropriate for Athens official bicycle routes.

***

Talking with ACC, we have heard they do not like to put up signage “that merely reflects state law.”  We agree that so-called sign pollution can lead to people ignoring signage.  However, in this situation, the current signage miscommunicates and muddles state law. in contrast, Bicycles May Use Full Lane goes beyond reflection to clarify people’s rights and responsibilities. It suggests where people should position their bikes. It reminds drivers that bikes are vehicles. Bicycles May Use Full Lane makes the streets safer.

We have also heard that some in ACC believe Bicycles May Use Full Lane would confuse visitors from outside the county, and ACC should wait until the signage is adopted state-wide. Respectfully, we do not see how the clear wording of Bicycles May Use Full Lane would cause confusion. To the contrary, since many visitors from out-of-county may not be used to driving in a bike-friendly community, the concise, informative Full Lane signage would increase driver understanding.

Upgrading to Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs is small, easily achievable method for improving safety for all users. This is not the final step, but installing Bicycles May Use Full Lane signs will make Athens streets safer. And that is the ultimate goal: safe, complete streets for all of us.

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Baxter Bike Lanes: Good News / “Bad” News

All of us who drive, ride, walk, and bus on Baxter St. have noticed the brand new pavement ACC recently laid down.  While we always appreciate a newly paved road—riding freshly paved blacktop is one of life’s greatest pleasures—it’s also a bittersweet reminder of the long, strange history of Baxter bike lanes.  Here’s a run down of the good news / bad news on the Baxter bike lanes.

Again, the good news—Baxter was repaved!  And its super smooth!  But for the moment, that smooth ride comes with a caveat—the temporary painted lanes are not the typical 4-Foot Width. (Click to enlarge)

They measure 3'4" outside of Chonell's

They measure 3’4″ outside of Chonell’s

Why does this matter?  According the American Association of State Highway Traffic Officials (AASHTO), 4-feet is the current minimum width for an official bike lane (p. 22).  This recommendation is unchanged from 1999; and actually, for streets with curb and gutter, the recommended width is 5- to 7-feet.  In 1999, after Baxter was to converted to its current configuration, ACC reported that since they did not provide the 4-feet needed for bike lanes, they would call the edge of the road a “shared bicycle area,” and they marked it with dashed lines, as seen on Hawthorne. For the moment, Baxter has been repaved with the “shared bicycle area” dimensions. However!!! There is good news: these markings are only temporary!!! According to ACC Transportation & Public Works, they will be widened to 4-feet when the lanes markings are made permanent (ABH story may be behind paywall).

Further up the hill, between Milledge and Rocksprings, there is not enough pavement to create 4-foot bike lanes, which means those will have to remain as unmarked bike-able shoulders.

3 Feet, like between Milledge & Rocksprings is the absolute minimum operating space

3-ft, like between Milledge & Rocksprings is the absolute minimum operating space

We appreciate this space and will use it when it is clear of debris, but it is not a bike lane.  (We will address appropriate signage for this block in a follow-up post.)

Unfortunately, there is still a safety issue on Baxter that cannot be easily solved by lane markings.  Over the years, and multiple repavings, the “mouths” of the stormwater drains have opened to where they now extend half-way into the bike lane, drastically reducing the bike lanes’ useable area.  A close looks illustrates the problem.

It is a tight squeeze that leads to people on bike either swerving in and out of the bike lane, or more likely, avoiding the bike lane altogether

The encroaching slope leaves only 16 inches of safe space to ride.  At night, especially, this creates a real, serious hazard to people on bike.  For that reason, ACC will use reflective marking to alert riders and drivers to the hazard. We raised these concerns with Commissioners back in May when ACC released the list of roads to be repaved, but we admit this may be a problem that cannot be easily solved upon repaving (or perhaps our concerns were lost in the shuffle).

Either way, this demonstrates the need for:

  1. A Complete Streets Policy that applies to all projects!  Repavings are the perfect opportunity to collect public input on the state of street, and a public forum would flag safety issues like gaping stormwater drains and start the discussion of potential solutions.  It is always better (and often less expensive) to address these issues before repaving, rather than after.
  2. The skinny bike lanes on Baxter evidence a need for a Complete Streets Implementation Committee to ensure the needs of all users are being addressed on these critical street improvement projects before the projects occur. It is ACC Transportation & Public Works job to keep our streets repaved and long-term projects on schedule.  There should be a Complete Streets Implementation Committee to proactively identify projects that ACC can adapt to improve the streets, not use for cars, but for all of us who bike, walk bus, and—yes—drive in Athens.
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Athens Resident Swaps Car for More Sustainable Transportation

by Ally Hellenga

Athens, Ga. — At a time when money was tight and gas prices were steep, one woman made a vow never to be dependent upon a car again.

Lauren Blais had made $60 in tips waitressing—a really good amount for a Monday night, if you ask her. After a long shift at work she climbed in her car only to find the bright orange gas dial pointing toward empty.

“Every penny I made that night went into that gas tank,” Blais said. “I started to cry. I felt like I hadn’t worked at all. All the money had gone into getting me to and from my part-time job.”

Having been commuting from her house in Jefferson to Gainesville, Winder and Athens for five years, Blais was ready for a change. In 2011, she moved to Athens where she held true to her vow to break free from her gas-guzzling mode of transportation.

Despite not having stepped foot on a bicycle since she was a kid, Blais made contact with BikeAthens and attended their Bike Recycling Program’s used bike sale where she bought her 1980s cruiser-road bike, which she named Bluebelle-a-RoTo, or Bluebelle for short.

“I feel like I am a BikeAthens success story,” Blais said. “I came from suburbia and could hardly ride a bike, but because of BikeAthens I have become a regular commuter who understands her rights and responsibilities on the road.”

As a result, Blais’s days are much different. Every morning, Blais checks the weather and uses her “personal formula” to determine how best to dress for the ride and the rest of the workday. Her rule of thumb is to wear one less layer than she would normally wear if she were not riding her bike to work. Then, she straps on her helmet, tugs on her $4 orange construction vest from Harbor Freight and flicks on her bike lights. Toting some of her belongings on her back, Blais puts the remaining items into a wooden, recycled cilantro crate she attached to the back of Bluebelle, and cruises 2.6 miles up Milledge and over Lumpkin Street into work on her bike. “If I am feeling lazy, I’ll take the longer route further up Milledge that doesn’t have as many hills,” Blais said.

Once in the office, Blais removes as many layers of clothing as possible. In the warmer months she borrows her co-worker’s fan for five or ten minutes to cool off. For Blais, one perk of biking to work is that she always gets a front row parking space. An even better benefit, she says, is that she comes to the office fully awake, energized and ready to take on the day.

Though biking is Blais’ primary form of transportation, she also uses the bus system, walks or asks a friend for a ride. “Biking doesn’t have to be an all or nothing commitment,” Blais said. “Like a growing number of millennials, I consider myself multimodal.”

What started as a transportation activity to save some money, has quickly turned into a hobby, passion and new lifestyle choice for Blais. Biking has also brought Blais closer to the Athens community. “While I’m out on my bike, I frequently see folks I know, and it’s easy to pull over and have a brief chat, or bike with someone for a minute.” Encounters such as this, make Blais feel even more connected with Athens.

When she’s not biking, Blais enjoys walking around Athens and exploring neighborhoods. She also takes aerial dance classes at Canopy. “I’ve become more physically active as I’ve gotten older, and biking is just one of the ways this new lifestyle manifests itself,” Blais said.

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Ride That Owns Itself II

Back for a 2nd year, the Ride that Owns Itself II, will once again wind its way through the most beautiful roads in all of Georgia. This year, we have 3 fully supported routes–26.2; 42 and 66 miles–that tour the bucolic countryside north of Athens.  This year’s ride and after-party is sponsored by Ted’s Most Best, where your ride registration ($30 / $40 day of)  includes a pizza/calzone and beer (or non-alcoholic beverage).  What a deal!

All the ride profits will go to support our Bike Recycling Program’sHoliday Bikes 4 Kids Drive.”

Ride registration includes the fully supported ride, dinner / drink, and a BikeAthens Membership.

Here at BikeAthens, we love cycling for the way it builds community.  Like last year, we are doing something different with our ride.  Rather than having a group start, we are aiming for a group finish. Our check-in / registration table will be open from 8:00am-12:00PM; you and your group may hit the road whenever you’d like, with the goal that we’ll all finish around the same time, about 2:00PM.

Suggested start times: 9:00AM for the 66 miler.  10:00AM for the 42miler. 11:00am for the 26.2 

REGISTER NOW!

This is how we roll

Even though it rained hard last year, this group was all smiles!
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The Fall Classic Group Ride

UPDATE: Due to the cool, wet weather, we are canceling tonight’s group ride.  The streets are too slick and the weather too uncomfortable.  We’ll see y’all next month!!

The weather is cooling, the Dawgs are winning, the trees are turning–it must be getting close to fall–the perfect time of year to ride! As always, the last Friday of the month–Sept. 25th–BikeAthens will be leading a short, easy, casual, and sociable ride around downtown Athens.  We will start at 6:00PM at City Hall (the College Avenue side).

These rides are a perfect opportunity to bike Athens with the safety of a large group of fun people.  Plus, Joe Kmiec, has planned another great route on some of our favorite scenic streets.  Look forward to seeing you on the 25th!  Oh, and bring water and bike lights!  If you need bike lights–send us a note, and we’ll bring some for you!!

Group Ride 9.25.2015

A variation of one of our favorite routes

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