Category Archives: education

A Complete Ride

We’ve all heard how sports such as cycling can be more mental than physically challenging.  Virginia Commonwealth University embraced the UCI Road World Championships in 2015 in Richmond, VA with a cross-disciplinary campus-wide effort to engage faculty and students in experiential learning.  Their work became “part of the university’s intellectual and cultural heritage”.  Studying cycling helps you realize it transcends any fixed categories such as transportation, identity, or even sport.  It is an integral part of the fabric of our lives.

VCU English Professor Gardner Campbell explained:  “The project was not just the experience of a sporting event. It represented something more, having to do with the possibilities of human accomplishment and the commitment it takes to get to your goals. Our students saw around them, as they were pushing themselves in the context of their own intensive courses, world-class athletes who were committing their hearts and minds and bodies to excellence.”

vcu-bike-book

The Great VCU Bike Race Book project gave students an opportunity to learn by doing and a chance to become “authors,” producing content curated into a virtual “book.” –photo from the article linked below

Read the full article here:  How a Bike Race Led to Experiential, Personalized Learning ,or,

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/11/16/how-a-bike-race-led-to-experiential-personalized-learning.aspx

This video of the final 5 kilometers of the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, VA shows an exhausted peloton.  The echo chamber of fans lining the cobbled streets, cheering in global tongues.  The winding course highlights city features, the 50 mile pedestrian trail to Williamsburg, Libby Hill, Governor Street, world culture shining in America, and Sagan’s all around cycling skills.  He only had a couple bike length’s lead over the last cobbled climb, but opened the gap zipping through the twisty turns, and extended it further with unrelenting commitment across the flats.  And the way his competitors great him after the race!

An incredible ride by Sagan, steadfastness, control and skill in the midst of seeming chaos.  The discipline of saving energy, then unleashing his heart’s desires at just the right moment.  Cycling is a global sport and a spiritual journey.  Sagan used the microphone after the race to call attention to the plight of refugees, and articulate a vision for shared prosperity for all humanity.  He won the road world championships again in 2016 to continue his reign.  We keep learning!

Virginia Commonwealth University is our Bike Org of the Month for November, 2016.

Detail on the course in Richmond here:  https://www.usacycling.org/richmond-2015-unveils-courses-for-2015-uci-road-world-championships.htm
A previous blog post on Sagan’s Richmond victory:  Achieve World Peace Through Bicycling

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Declaration of Interdependence, or, A Beautiful Arrangement

“…the way of the road was the rule for all upon it.”  –Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
“…cities with a high bicycling rate among the population generally show a much lower risk of fatal crashes for all road users…”  —Marshall & Garrick, Environmental Practice 13:16–27 (2011)

Americans spend so much time on the road we deserve to feel at home there.  Safety for road users is one of the most important indicators for our pursuits of the American dream.  Whether we are driving truck, pedaling a bicycle, pushing a baby stroller, or rolling a wheelchair, sharing our streets is an elemental part of what makes America good.  Streets are a celebration of our public life, and what we see and do there, whether we feel safe and included, speaks to us.

crest-switchback-on-the-edge

We are witnessing an ongoing tragedy on our roads.   Every month on America’s roads we lose more lives than we did in 9/11.  Most of them are persons traveling in automobiles.  None of us are invulnerable.  “We know all this and act as if we don’t” (Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic, p. 275).  The illusion of invulnerability walls off our sensitivities.  If we pay attention to the human vulnerabilities in all of us, we realize something like a Declaration of Interdependence aptly describes the nature of public safety on our roads.  The streets won’t feel safe for any of us until they are functioning safely for all users.   Recognizing this interdependence is key.

placitas-horse-gang

Every human being deserves a safe home, a safe workplace, safe schools, a safe neighborhood and a safe road to travel on in between. Every road is like a bridge from one part of our life to another.  And sometimes the simple act of being on the move is the absolute best place to be in a given moment, feeling wonderfully free.  Safe roads are an essential part of freedom, and we’ll do well securing more mobility freedom for our children, grandchildren, and on down the road toward the infinite horizon for the multitude of generations to come.  Exercising a more responsible freedom on the road helps us reach towards a better vision of the world where people are protected, and expands opportunities to pursue our interests and live our dreams.

placitas-friend-good-friend

From Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan’s song Masters of War

You’ve thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world

We as a people can address actions that instill fear to travel with children on our public roads.  Speak kindly with caring thought and sincerity.  We deserve to be safe.  “This land was made for you and me.”  (Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land) .  Begin with peace here.  We are worthy.

Old Town Farm's fresh, local flowers make for a beautiful arrangement by Sansai Studios

Old Town Farm’s fresh, local flowers make for a beautiful arrangement by Sansai Studios

Resources:
Check out my blog post “The Quiet Catastrophe” on Edward Hume’s book Door to Door.
In Learning from Trails I look at our expectations for cooperative use of shared public spaces.
In Ride 2 Recovery I explore roads as a place for healing, particularly for wounded warriors.

Cultures of Responsibility

This article by Robert M. Shanteau, Ph.D., P.E., Registered Traffic Engineer, is an excellent resource.  It is a long one but one you can go back and reference time again.  It is pretty cutting edge so it has taken my mind a while to catch where he is going with this history lesson:

http://iamtraffic.org/equality/the-marginalization-of-bicyclists/

Shanteau’s educational piece is good background for this story.   A cyclist was pulled over and ticketed for impeding traffic.  The video clip from the patrol dash cam shows how it unfolds.

Basically the Officer thinks the bicyclists should be riding at the edge of the road, not on it.  He says repeatedly to “stay out of the road”.   This fundamental confusion has a lot to do with the way the traffic laws are written.  In all 50 States bicyclists are required to follow the same laws as other drivers.  This includes the right to use the travel lanes, and associated duties (signaling turns, yielding before moving laterally to change lanes, respecting first come first served).  That’s all good.  The general law for slower moving traffic applies, slower traffic stays to the right.  The confusion comes from the “Far to the Right” law added to control bikes.  It creates a rule that designates bicycles as a second class user.  This creates conflict and confusion, and puts bicyclists at risk for the convenience of motorists.  The Far to the Right law is detrimental to road safety because it confuses the principles of traffic law and creates uneven treatment.  Dropping Far to the Right would let the regular rules of the road prevail and the sharing concept would be clear and explicit.  Bicyclists have a right to the road just like the drivers of other vehicles.  It is not an exception, or a special case.  It is the rule.  Start there and ride to the right as safe.  When moving slower than other traffic, drivers keep right as they judge safe and appropriate.  Bicyclists have to position themselves for safety.  Respecting bicycle traffic is a precondition for guiding safe traffic behaviors.  A good sign for this stretch of road would be:

bikes may use full lane

That makes everyone’s responsibility clearer.  It is safer that way.   Easier on everyone.

References:
Text to the video is here:
http://www.bikelaw.com/2016/02/04/biker-obstructing-traffic-nope-roll-the-videotape/

The League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Quick Guide is an excellent resource

Traffic Safety for All People

All men are one and there is no other tale to tell.  –Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
He said that the way of the road was the rule for all upon it.  –Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing

Respect

Public roads are inclusive of travel by walking and bicycling.  This is common understanding.  Safe passing is the responsibility of the overtaking driver.  Wait until it is safe. Traffic flow is about people, more than just cars.  Look for me.  I will look for you.  We have to look for each other and travel with care.  Every road user has the same expectation for safe travel.

One misconception is that bicycles cannot impede traffic.  That is false.  The traffic impeding law in New Mexico only applies to motor vehicles.  The movement of cyclists on the road at speeds safe and reasonable for bicycles is normal and expected.  Speed differentials are balanced by calming faster vehicular traffic.  When bikes and pedestrians are around please slow down.

A second misunderstanding is that bicycles should always be far right.  That is false.  One of the most effective proactive safety techniques for cycling is traveling where cars generally do, or just to the right.  This is because the movement of bicycles is akin to the movement of cars, and that is where people are looking.  Proper positioning increases visibility, helps avoid right edge hazards, and prevents the most common crash types which includes falls from surface hazards, vehicle turning conflicts, and driveway pullouts.  If the right lane is too narrow to share with a vehicle side by side (generally the minimum width for side by side sharing is 14-15′), bicyclists may use any part of the lane for safety.  Edge riding around the white line can increase the likelihood of a close pass or sideswipe.  Educated cyclists will often center themselves in the lane or ride just right of center to clearly indicate they are using the lane.  This makes bicyclists conspicuous, more visible, and makes their movement more predictable, because they’re clearer of hazards and can hold a line without having to frequently move laterally to avoid debris and pass obstacles.  It also signals to cars that they must changes lanes to pass, and puts bicyclists in a clear field of vision.  Plus good lane positioning gives bicyclists better sight lines through intersections, past driveways, and around corners.  Bike lanes may have the pitfalls of right edge riding depending on their design and conditions.  Safe bicyclists use them with caution and care.  Change lanes to pass cyclists.  Give ample room.  Be sensitive, safe.

A third misunderstanding is that bicyclists should not be on the road.  This is false.  Bicyclists are a normal part of multimodal traffic flow.  Bicycle travel is expected and encouraged.  The Federal Highway Administration’s policy is “bicyclists and pedestrians (including people with disabilities) will be fully integrated into the transportation system.”  This integration begins with the conceptual framework of the public travel environment as a shared space we live in.  This includes recreational use of the public infrastructure.  Cars are used for work and recreation.  So are bicycles and walking.  We want to encourage public health and induce more exercise.

In his investigative book Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt makes a comparison between the 9/11 toll and monthly death toll on roads.  The latter exceeds the former.  “We know all this, and act as if we don’t” (p 275 Tom Vanderbilt).  That is changing.  Our civil society depends on safe roads for all.

Ride for Nathan climb up

Resources:

http://iamtraffic.org/resources/infographics
Tom Vanderbilt Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do and What It Says About Us
Cormac McCarthy The Crossing Quotes are from p. 157 and p. 414, The Border Trilogy, 1999, Knopf, Everyman’s Library edition
https://bikeyogiblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/get-educated-on-cycling/
https://bikeyogiblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/how-to-pass-bicyclists-safely-how-to-enforce-this/
https://bikeyogiblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/side-path-bicycling/
https://bikeyogiblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/learning-from-trails/

What Bicycling Can Do

When Lance Armstrong wrote about his comeback from cancer, It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back To Life, he struck a universal chord.  The bicycle does so many things for individuals and society.  It’s a vehicle for networking and moving forward.  Here are opportunities to get more involved and learn about what the bike can do for you and your community.

Bike Summits
February 8 -9, 2016 – Colorado Bicycle Summit, Denver, CO
March 7-9, 2016 – National Bike Summit, Washington, D.C.
April 1, 2016 – Arizona Bike Summit, Mesa, AZ
April 5, 2016 – Utah Bike Summit, Salt Lake City, UT
April 23, 2016 – New Mexico Bike Summit, Las Cruces, NM

Interdisciplinary Conferences
June 13-15, 2016, International Conference on Transport & Health, San Jose, CA
August 30 – September 2, 2016 – 5th IENE International Conference on Ecology and Transportation
November 16 – 19, 2016, 6th International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health, Bangkok, Thailand

Check out the latest editions of Centerlines from the National Center for Bicycling and Walking to see more of what’s happening on the national and global stage around bicycling.

Mountains

Bicycling outdoors immerses us in exquisite places like this, even on a simple commute or lunch ride

ABQ Bike Tramway Trail

ABQ has a great multiuse path system. Here is the Tramway Trail from the Candelaria bike/ped bridge

ABQ bike Paseo del Norte Trail

The Paseo del Norte trail climbing up into Bear Canyon for more close up views of the Sandia Mountains

Corrales

NM tram

Tramway Boulevard from the Candelaria bike/ped overpass

La Luz trail

Foothill roads such as La Luz can take you right up into the Mountains (watch for snow and ice!)

 

New Mexico Bike Summit 2016

Here’s an Announcement from the New Mexico Bicyclist Educators.  Like them on Facebook!
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NM Bike Educators

Grab your bike, BREAK FREE from your daily grind and join us at the New Mexico Bike Summit in Las Cruces on April 23, 2016. Mark your calendar — registration information coming soon.

The New Mexico Bike Summit is an inclusive event welcoming advocates, educators and bicycle enthusiasts of every kind. Come see old faces, make new friends and learn about what’s happening in New Mexico related to bicycling.

Topics/Speakers include:

*US Bike Routes / USBR 90*
– Jennifer Milyko, Adventure Cycling Association, Assistant Director Routes & Mapping

*Rio Grande Trail*
– Dan Carter – Southern NM Trail Alliance, President
– Peter Mattox – Southern NM Trail Alliance, Rio Grande Trail Commissioner

*Safe Routes to School*
– Ashleigh Curry, Las Cruces Public Schools Safe Routes to School Cooridinator

*Albuquerque Bike Share Program*
– Valerie Hermanson, Regional Planner Mid-Region Council of Governments

Additional Panelists:
– Carrie Hamblen – Las Cruces Green Chamber
– Jamie Lakey – NMSU, Velo Cruces
– Scott White – Velo Paso

The New Mexico Bike Summit is coordinated by NMBE.

Learning from Trails

“It is sometimes assumed, explicitly or unconsciously, that an individual’s tendencies are naturally purely individualistic or egoistic, and thus antisocial…But there is no ground for any such view. Individuals are certainly interested, at times, in having their own way, and their own way may go contrary to the way of others.  But they are also interested, and chiefly interested upon the whole, in entering into the activities of others and taking part in conjoint and cooperative doings.  Otherwise, no such thing as a community would be possible.”
Democracy and Education by John Dewey, p. 23, The Echo Library 2007

“Boulder’s multi-use paths work just like our roads.”  —The Way of the Path, Boulder, Colorado

Bicycling on trails and shareduse paths is great fun.  I used to take the beautiful path along the Truckee River in Reno as part of my commute.  Listening to the water flowing from Lake Tahoe gushing through town was a perfect way to start and end my work day.  Here in Albuquerque I try to incorporate the Rio Grande Bosque Trail into many of my rides, even if it means adding some extra distance.  These paths create ready access for citizens to high quality experiences.

When I talk to people there is a strong sense that the calmness of the trail is one of the key elements making for an attractive journey.  The first concern is always regulating the fastest vehicles, bicycles, to make sure they don’t take away from others’ experiences.  That makes sense to me because the level of service a road, trail or pathway provides is not about top speed, but comes from an inclusive sense of the whole experience of all users.

Applying this perspective to roads is helpful.  The FHWA says, “For most of the second half of the 20th Century, the transportation, traffic engineering and highway professions in the United States were synonymous. They shared a singular purpose: building a transportation system that promoted the safety, convenience and comfort of motor vehicles.”  Because of the way the built environment was constructed, many people have dropped the notion that walking and bicycling matters.  But evidence has shown that walking and bicycling does matter, and must be taken seriously.  We’ll have better roads when we take into account the experiences of people who are walking and bicycling there, and by promoting safety, comfort and dignity for all.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/guidance/design.cfm

bandelier-grazing

Deer along the trail at Bandelier National Monument