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Bicycle Summit Day 2

(Left to right: Travis Jensen and Brad Woods Utah Bicycle Coalition Chairs.)
(Left to right: Travis Jensen and Brad Woods Utah Bicycle Coalition Chairs.)

Yesterday was a great end to an amazing weekend power packed with advice, advancement, and general comradery concerning everything to do with bicycles and Utah. There was however one grey cloud over the beginning of the precession. Mayor Becker (of SLC) had his bike stolen yesterday, on the first day of the summit, ironically enough. He had it locked up outside across the street from the summit. For our readers who have never had a bike stolen I hope that they never have to. For those of us who have had bikes stolen we know what a bummer it can be, and hope that the Mayor can get back on a bike (preferably his) soon. We all know were there is a special place set aside for bicycle thieves.

(The Mayor with his bike. To bad he did not have all those cops when it was stolen.)
(The Mayor with his bike. To bad he did not have all those cops when it was stolen.)

Before we begin I should warn this post is a little long. In my defense the meeting was seven hours long and pretty much packed full of important information I promise that your investment in time will pay off. Leaving the bike theft, the rest of the summit delivered just as strong as yesterday with some even more helpful insight into what we can do to make Utah, and specifically Provo, a great place to bicycle. Lets get started.

The day started with us finally being able to take part in the awesome bicycle valet parking that was being supplied by the Salt Lake Bicycle Collective. They had offered it the day before but we had arrived to early to take part. It all worked like your standard valet program. They took our bikes put a tag on them and then gave us a bracelet with a matching number. We would end up turning in the bracelet for the bicycle at the end of the day. This is the first time I have been able to take place in bike valet and it was really nice to not have to worry if my bicycle or its components were going to be where I left them when I got out of the meeting. Thanks again to all the Collective volunteers for the help and awesome service.

(This is the hoop were they kept the bracelets for the valet parking.)
(This is the hoop were they kept the bracelets for the valet parking.)

The meeting began with a welcome from Peter Corroon the Salt Lake County Mayor. He had a bit to say about the strides Salt Lake is taking to become more bicycle friendly, which we have covered, or will cover shortly. In closing he pointed out an interesting and somewhat funny  story relating the history of bicycles and cars. He stated that in New York 1896 the first car crash happened, it involved a car and a bicyclist. It drew some laughter and thought on the fact that we are still having the same problems in our transportation and urban design as we were over 100 years ago.

(Peter Corroon)
(Peter Corroon)

Next was a panel/audience discussion were each member of the panel presented for a few minutes, and then the floor was opened up for questions. First up was Dan Bergenthal who is a Trails Coordinator/Transportation Engineer, and works with the Salt Lake City Transportation Division. His comments were really good for people looking to get more directly involved. He began by saying that we need to be the change we want to see. This directly linked him into talking about volunteering to make that change. He spent some time on bonnevile shore line trail maintenance program. Trail maintenance is now on our families list of things to do this summer. I believe his two last points were his strongest. First, if you want bike paths on existing roads, or new roads, it is really good to know the cities Master Plan. I went to find Provo’s and it looks like the link is broken, so what we need to do now is let someone know it is down and then get a copy of the Master Plan. The second major suggestion he added was get involved with your local Bicycle Committee. He said that a majority of what happens with bicycles in SLC has to do with their Bicycle Committee. This first lecture really kicked off an underlining theme for the day that went something like, “You are in charge of what does and does not happen in your cities and communities.”

Second was Evelyn Tuddenham Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for UDOT. Mrs Tuddenham spoke of the four fold mission UDOT has for their projects; improve safety, improve mobility, increase capacity, and take care of what we have. She also went into how UDOT does things when planning for roads and paths. All and all she called for cyclists to be informed and if you want to see changes or make sure that new construction has the things that will help cyclists that you need to get in on the planning and conception part of the project, right at the beginning. You will see this comment running through out the speakers and suggestions.

Third was Jerry Jouer (spelling?) who works with the Trails Department if I remember right. The reason for the vagueness is that he was not originally intended as the speaker but stepped in for someone who was to ill to attend. Primarily he spoke on how, out of all the cities, Salt Lake is the most progressive and aggressive with their bicycle infrastructure. Personally I saw this as a challenge for other cities (I am looking at you Provo), to step it up and give SLC a run for their money. Jerry did a great job for having such a limited time to prepare.

(The first panel of the day)
(The first panel of the day)

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Bicycle Summit Day 1

Yesterday marked the first day of the first annual Utah Bicycle Summit. There is a lot to go over so lets jump right in.

We took Trax into Salt Lake and the bicycle advocacy issues arose before we even got to the summit. We loaded our bicycles onto the train and began to read the rules of having your bicycle on the train, they are as follows,

As you can see not only are these rules not very bicycle friendly they are also impractical for more than one cyclist to have a bicycle on the train at a time (as this violates rule 2). We found the bicycle facilities on the train to be uncomfortable and very un-accommodating to cyclist and their bikes. This however will have to be a topic for another post, as I said we have a lot of ground to cover. (Sorry for some stock images I did not get any good pictures of some of the speakers.)

We showed up early got signed in and helped a bit with set up. Once things got started we all sat down to hear a welcome from the Mayor of Salt Lake City, Ralph Becker who we know to be very bicycle friendly.

(Mayor Ralph Becker)
(Mayor Ralph Becker)

Mayor Becker kicked things off with some thank you’s and some awesome statistics. Since his time as Mayor he has increased bicycle spending by 10 fold, implemented 38 miles of bicycle trails just last year, and is shooting for that same growth this coming year. He said that Salt Lake now has two full time people looking at places for bike lanes, and evaluating bikeability in the city. He said that bicycles are “…critical and integral part of our transportation plans…”. His reasons for this were pretty clear bicycles help with three major concerns for any city” air quality, congestion, and individual health…”, as well as bicycles being an “integral part to having high quality communities.” He then went on to say that Utah especially Salt Lake area and Utah Valley are relatively flat and calm weather areas that could see a lot more growth. He then challenged us all to ride more by stating that Minneapolis, which has notoriously nasty winters, has a higher rider percentage that Utah does. His closing comments said that there are people who are worried about the spending that it is going on so it is our duty as riders and advocates to make our voice heard and to be able to back that voice up with action and information.

All and all he had a lot of great things to say mainly focusing around Salt Lake however, Salt Lake is kind of a big brother to Provo. What we can all take away is that there is a lot of movement happening for bicycles in Utah and if Provo wants to take part in that in only takes our interaction and interest to make things happen. Which we will get to a little later.

(Councilman Luke Garrot with an interesting shirt on.)
(Councilman Luke Garrot with an interesting shirt on.)

Next up was Council Member Luke Garrott. He is the one that is responsible for the summit taking form and becoming a reality. He encouraged all of us cyclists to find a strong voice and to put in to action anything that we may find useful for th m the summit. Short on time he exited stage left and on came Jeff Miller.

(Jeff Miller on the right with the cap on.)
(Jeff Miller on the right with the cap on.)

Jeff Miller is President and CEO of Alliance for Bicycling and Walking (this is a link worth checking out). He said most of his experience prior to the Alliance was organizing cyclists and cycling advocates in Maine. He does have some roots in Utah however, one of his ancestors actually put up the first hospital in Provo. Jeff was an awesome speaker. Full of information, inspiration, and a good measure of humor. He made a lot of statistical points about cycling in Utah. Such as, 10% of all trips to work in Utah are made by bike or foot, for cycling this is a 96% increase over the last 20 years. He also shared with us a despairing statistic, 16% of all pedestrian fatalities occur with minors 16 and under, this is the highest in the nation. There was a ton more and I have the book on it so if any one wants all the interesting information on cycling from around the U.S. you can contact me and I will let you borrow it. Next he gave Utah some suggestions. I am going to bullet point the ones that caught my eye the most.

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Reporting from the Bike Rodeo

Yesterday the Provo Bicycle Committee had a rip roarin’ good time volunteering at the Farrer Elementary Bike Rodeo. Families came from all over the neighborhood to register their bikes, learn about sharing the road, and ride like mad.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • $500 worth of helmets, donated from the Utah County Health Department, were given to kids that needed them.
  • Committee members Zac and Krista Whitmore provided hours of free professional tune-ups and basic repairs to kids riding broken or dangerous bikes. Dozens of bikes arrived at the rodeo with serious problems. Fortunately, our repair team biked in a stand and tons of tools. They did a truly amazing job of helping neighborhood kids get their bikes in working order for the spring.
  • Officer Hunter helped families register their bicycles at no cost, making it easier for bikes to be recovered if they are stolen or lost.
  • Councilman Sterling Beck helped the Webelos Scouts learn about basic bicycle maintenance and pass off several of their requirements. He looked very cute pumping up those tires. (Hey, we’re married. I can say that.)
  • Two BYU basketball stars showed up to greet the kids and sign their helmets. The kids were so excited and are already treasuring those celebrity-signed helmets. I wish I caught their names because they certainly should get some credit!
  • Most importantly, the kids had a wonderful time riding and learning about bicycles.

A big thanks to Sariah Hillam who put the whole shindig together and let the Bicycle Committee take part. Hopefully, the Bike Rodeo can be an annual neighborhood tradition. As we were leaving, one of the last little girls in the parking lot yelled out: “Wait! When will the next one be?”

Spring has Sprung, time to ride!!

So this week has been a little crazy and really beautiful. Spring is here and we are getting more and more bike freindly days as a result. As we all go to grab our bikes some that have sat all winter, and some that have been ridden through the winter there are a few tips in making sure that the first fare weather ride goes awesome.

If you are getting your bike out for the first time in months make sure to check the psi in the tires before you do anything. You would be amazed at what a diffrence this little thing will make in your riding. You can find the rating for the psi on the side wall of the tire it will give you a max and a min. I like to run my skinny tired bikes (road bike, track bike, touring bike), at almost full psi and my fat tired bikes (mountain bike, beach cruiser), 5-7 psi below the recommended max.

Once you have the tires pumped up grab a rag and make that bike shine like it was new. There is something really satisying about cleaning a dirty bike, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment which makes you want to ride more. Every time you look at the bike you remeber the work you put in to getting it looking so spiffy which makes you wnat to take it for a cruise and show it off. Anyone can wipe something off, you need to get in the nooks and cranys this should be a labor of love. When you are cleaning up the bike Windex and a rag work best for cleaning muck and dirt off. For the grease and the grime WD-40 works great but comes with one warning.

DO NOT USE WD-40 AS A CHAIN LUBE, it will dry your chain out and attract a lot of stuff off the road basically ruining your drive train. To lube the chain go to a bike shop and buy actual chain lube, I prefer White Lightning, or Demonds. Now that you have chain lube you need to suspend the bike some how so you can pedal without it going anywhere. You can flip it over or come up with some ingenious way to hang the rear end up. Take a rag and run your chain through the rag. You only have to cycle threw a few times unless the chain is really bad, in which case it may take more than one rag to clean it well. Once you have all the initial gunk off of the chain take your chain lube and place the tip of it on the chain. Now pedal slowly with the tip of the bottle on the chain this will make the lube drop on to each link individualy saving lube ,and putting it in the only place it really matters. Once you have pedaled through a few times with the lube on the chain grab a clean rag, or use a clean spot on your old rag, and run the chain through the rag again. Now your chain is lubed and will not be collecting a bunch of garbage from the road.

Now that you have your tires pumped up, biked cleaned, and chain lubed get out and ride your bike. If your bike needs a little more love to get going this season follow the shop links on the side bar, or for you DIY’ers you can go to and follow some of his in depth tutorials. Make it a good day.

What Can Provo Learn from Fort Collins?

A couple years ago my husband and I made a trip out to Fort Collins, Colorado where we discovered that a city very similar to Provo has created a truly amazing bicycle culture. Students, families, seniors, and avid-cyclers were riding everywhere we looked. The cycling culture brought business to their bike-lined downtown, generated a very real sense of community, and gave the city some extremely favorable media attention (they were awarded the #2 spot in Money Magazine’s top 10 Places to Live 2008).

It can be a bit difficult when cycling advocates try to take on the same types of projects that Portland does – Provo and Portland are very different. However, Provo and Fort Collins are extremely similar in the ways that count. Both are medium-sized cities with generally flat roads, a historic downtown, a major university, and a snowy winter. If something can work for them, it can probably work for us.

Here are some of ways that Fort Collins has made cycling work in their city Read more

Ride with the Mayor: Provo Bike-to-Work Day

Mark your calendars for a May ride with Provo Mayor John Curtis. This year’s Provo City / UTA Bike-to-Work Day is excpected to be the best yet.

What: Enjoy free food and complimentary bike tune-ups, and a bike ride with Mayor John Curtis at 8 a.m. UTA will give away free bicycle helmets to the first 50 participants, and Provo City will offer free bike registration to residents. The event is free and open to the public. Children must be at least eight years old to ride and must be accompanied by an adult.

When: May 18, 7:30-9:00 a.m.

Where: Historic County Courthouse at 51 S. University Avenue

Check out the Provo Bike-to-Work-Day event on Facebook to learn more and show your support.

photo credit: Bike by the Sea

Salt Lake Improves Bikability…Will Provo Follow?

Salt Lake is doing a lot to improve bikability throughout the city. A recent Deseret News story reports:

“…Even in the face of substantial budget cuts — possibly as large as $20 million — bicycles remain a priority for the mayor and his administration. Completing cycling-oriented projects in line with our vision for a highly bikeable capital city is a priority,” Becker said.

“Increasing the options for alternative transportation has always been a focus…Even in these tough economic times, we remain committed to increasing awareness of bicycle/motorist safety while also completing funded projects in Salt Lake City to promote biking as a safe and desirable transportation alternative.”

Salt Lake offers a thriving Bicycle Collective and is home to the Utah Bike Summit. This year they plan to add a bicycle transit center and add a number of bike lanes to repaved streets.

Provo has been lagging behind. But, with the renewal of the Provo Bicycle Committee Salt Lake may soon have some friendly competition.

photo credit: ebis50

Farrer Elementary Bike Rodeo

On April 15, families living in Farrer Elementary School boundaries should cycle on down for the first-annual Bike Rodeo.

What: A rip-roarin’ good time, offering young riders the chance to get started on spring riding. The Provo Police Department is sponsoring free bicycle registrations. Safety and bike maintenance tutorials will be provided.  A limited number of free bicycle helmets will also be available, compliments of the County Heath Department.

When: April 15, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Farrer Elementary School

Show up with your youngsters and watch them swerve through the obstacle course. Yee-haw!

photo credit: Richo.Fan

Utah Bike Summit

If you’re interested in bike advocacy, you won’t want to miss this year’s Utah Bike Summit. During the 2-day conference, you’ll hear from Congressman Jim Oberstar and attend workshops from fellow bike advocates. Topics include:

  • Bicycling Issues in Utah
  • Working with Business
  • Being an Effective Advocate
  • Changing Policies
  • Working with Governmental Agencies

When: Friday April 16, 2010  Noon – 5:00 pm
Saturday April 17, 2010  8:00am – 4:00 pm

Where: Salt Lake City Library (210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City)

The Utah Bike Summit is free, but you need to sign up online before April 9th or before all seats are taken.

Image: Utah Bike Summit