Archive for July, 2007

Buffalo News: we’re a great town for cycling

I found it late, but better late than never. Here’s an exerpt from a great article by Michael Beebe in the Buffalo News lifestyle section.

Tours de Buffalo: Niagara Frontier by bike
Mike Beebe’s case for Buffalo as a prime cycling town
Updated: 07/02/07
As I was heading home on my 10- speed, looking out at a gorgeous sun setting over the Niagara River, I grumbled at how Buffalo never makes those magazine lists of perfect cycling towns. It’s their loss.

It’s true we don’t have a lot of bicycle commuters. Our winters are too long, our springs too short – summer and fall are just right – and while we have a growing number of bike paths, far too many are strewn with broken glass.

But from my house near Delaware Park, it’s a short trip to ride along the mighty Niagara, extend it to take in breathtaking views of the rapids and the falls themselves or do a loop around Grand Island.

Or I can ride among huge grain elevators, deeply inhale the smell of just- baked Cheerios from the General Mills plant and, if I get bored, ride over the Peace Bridge and into another country.

What’s not to like? Well, you have to develop a tolerance for urban grit – one route includes a tire plant, coke plant and asphalt plant.

If you want to know more about any of these routes, get the wonderful bicycle map put out, free of charge, by the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council. It’s on their Web site: gbnrtc.org/ bikemap.htm. For the Canadian routes, go to cycleniagara. com/ maps.

Tour de Buffalo North

Leave Delaware Park and take the winding Scajaquada Pathway to the Niagara Riverwalk and head north along the Niagara all the way to the City of Tonawanda.

From there, a path and a bike lane take you to Ellicott Creek Park and on to the University at Buffalo North Campus on the Ellicott Creek Trailway, ending at Maple Road.

Highlights: Stunning views of the Niagara and wildlife ranging from deer, rabbits and great blue herons to the resident beaver living along Scajaquada Creek.

Lowlights: Broken glass on the Riverwalk, a short but intense dose of industry on River Road and sometimes- heavy pedestrian traffic on the bike path.

Tour de Buffalo South

On this ride, you head south on the Riverwalk, ride over the rail bridge spanning the Black Rock Channel and then cycle along the Niagara River, a section of Niagara Street, onto LaSalle Park and Erie Basin Marina.

Or add another industrial section. Go past HSBC Arena, ride the pathway behind the NFTA rail facility and then over the Michigan Street bridge to Ganson Street. Continue to Ohio Street and on to the new bike paths along the waterfront, north to the Coast Guard Base or south past the Small Boat Harbor.

Highlights: Watching crews from the West Side Rowing Club along the Black Rock Channel, riding among the giant grain elevators, smelling the fresh- baked Cheerios at the General Mills plant.

Lowlights: The foul- smelling Buffalo Sewer Authority plant, the badly kept bike paths down by the NFTA’s Small Boat Harbor.

…for the rest of the article, go to the Buffalo News web site.
Mike Beebe is a News staff reporter.

I disagree with what he said about how the winters are too long. Bet that didn’t surprise you, did it?

the shape of fit cyclists

I am not the thin athletic type, but I’m good at bicycling. I can bike many miles in day and not feel that tired at all the next day. (Take, for example, the weekend I rode my bike taxi for 70 miles).

So it was nice to read this article on the New York Times today:

“When I first got into cycling, I would see cyclists and say, ‘O.K., that’s not what I perceive a cyclist to be,’ ” said Michael Berry, an exercise physiologist at Wake Forest University. Dr. Berry had been a competitive runner, and he thought good cyclists would look like good runners — rail-thin and young.

But, Dr. Berry added, “I quickly learned that when I was riding with someone with a 36-inch waist, I could be looking at the back of their waist when they rode away from me.”

He came to realize, he said, that cycling is a lot more forgiving of body type and age than running. The best cyclists going up hills are those with the best weight-to-strength ratio, which generally means being thin and strong. But heavier cyclists go faster downhill. And being light does not help much on flat roads.

Click here for the full article.

bicyclist shot and killed

Why?

Shots from car kill bicyclist on West Side
Updated: 07/14/07

A California Street man was gunned down while riding his bicycle Friday afternoon on the city’s West Side, Buffalo police reported.

Julio Penaloza, 30, was riding his bike on Massachusetts Avenue about 2:45 p.m. when a gunman or gunmen in a vehicle drove up to him near Fargo Avenue and opened fire, according to Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman.

Witnesses at the scene said they heard as many as eight shots fired. Penaloza was pronounced dead at the scene.

DeGeorge said police had no suspects or motive for the killing.

Here’s a map of the approximate location of the killing:

A memorial ride is being planned: BuffaloBikes.com/memorial

is your town friendly? bicycle friendly?

Interesting article about friendly towns in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Bicycle use indicates people-friendly town
July 9, 2007

In early June, Tennessee passed a law requiring motorists to pass bicycles with at least a 3-foot berth. The law reflects the increased value local governments are placing on bicycle-friendly communities. It is a perk for both motorists and cyclists, as increased bicycle use translates to safer and more desirable cities.

We’ve joined cities and states worldwide in thinking about bicycles as an asset.

Still, some Memphians were less than enthusiastic about the legislation. A letter to the editor on June 9th said that bicycles, like golf carts or mini-bikes, should be restricted from roadways and viewed as toys.
But unlike motorbikes or golf carts, bicycles are human-powered vehicles with the carrying capacity of a small coupe (just add a trailer). They require no petroleum and run on calories.

Unlike most toys, the bicycle is a source of transportation for a future beset by skyrocketing petroleum prices and transportation dilemmas. For good reason, bicycles have a staying power beyond the Barbie doll.

Bicycles are indicators that communities have become people-friendly environments supporting a healthy lifestyle.

For example, Boulder, Colo., is America’s most bicycle-friendly city. It spends 15 percent of its transportation budget on bicycles and has created bicycle lanes on more than 97 percent of its arterial roads. Twenty-one percent of the population commutes by bicycle.

In 2003, Boulder recorded no murders. That peaceful, bicycle-friendly city stands in contrast to a June 6 letter to The Commercial Appeal. The writer cast cyclists as troublemakers tearing through neighborhoods. In fact, cyclists lend a peaceful aesthetic to neighborhoods, often getting smiles and waves from those they pass.

I spoke recently with a colleague about bicycling in Memphis. “I’m a cyclist, too” he said, “but not like you.” His point was that he refused to navigate the high-traffic streets of North Parkway or even Cooper on a bicycle. It’s understandable.

Memphis does not have a single bicycle lane. This keeps many cyclists off the streets. But all over America, recreational bicycling is gaining in popularity.

The specter of global warming and the steady rise of gas prices have inevitably urged Americans to consider going by bike.

In Memphis, even without bike lanes, we are seeing more and more bicycles in the roadway. And this is a good thing, as are laws which protect cyclists. Such laws are direct investments in the health and safety of our cities.

The latest cycling law says that our state values its people and their health. Protecting cyclists is an indication that our streets are being reclaimed for a healthier way of life.

Memphian Anthony Siracusa is a full-time student at Rhodes College. He is a member of Memphis’ Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee, executive director of Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop and a daily cycling commuter. Contact him at revolutionsmemphis.com.

bicyclist killed

From the Buffalo News:

Brant bicyclist killed in hit and run accident

A Brant woman died after a vehicle struck her Friday while she was riding her bicycle, Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard said.

Crystal Stonemetz, 39, was riding along Route 5 in Brant when a driver hit her and fled the scene, Howard said. Deputies later arrested Lyle Logan, 39, of Alleghany Road in Silver Creek for drunk driving and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Deputies also impounded Logan’s vehicle, which had extensive damage.

The investigation is continuing and further charges are pending.

Brant is south of Buffalo a ways:

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