Get Ready for Bike Month

Sheriff Kenny and Muscle Powered advisor Lee Harter getting ready to ride - "Celebrity Ride" 2012

Sheriff Kenny and Muscle Powered advisor Lee Harter getting ready to ride – “Celebrity Ride” 2012

Next month is Bike Month and there are plenty of activities planned in Carson City. We kick off on April 24 with Nevada Moves Day at the State Legislature. Muscle Powered is organizing exhibits in the front foyer of the legislative building highlighting Nevada groups working for better walking and biking. Participants include the Reno Bike Project, Safe Routes to Schools, the Carson Valley Trails Association and more. Muscle Powered members will invite legislators on a one-hour walk from 7 to 8 am starting from the legislative building, highlighting complete and not-so-complete streets in downtown Carson City. Exhibits will be up all day long – this is a good opportunity to visit what everyone during the session calls simply “the building,” so come down and say hello.

Rides

Next up is Bike Habitat’s Tour de Carson on Sunday, May 5. This popular ride starts from Bike Habitat in the Topsy Lane shopping center, circles Carson City, then ends up back at Bike Habitat for a barbecue.

Jenny Scanland is leading Slow Spokes Rides every Wednesday at 5:15 pm through June. Contact Jenny at  jscanland@charter.net, 684 2787

Several years ago Jeff Potter picked up then-City Supervisor Shelly Aldean on his tandem and they rode to work together on the first day of Bike To Work Week. This has evolved into a  Celebrity Ride where community leaders are invited to join Muscle Powered members on a leisurely hour-long ride around Carson City’s west side. Last year we were joined by the mayor, the sheriff, and several City department heads. This year we have invited state officials as well, so we’ll see who shows up. The Celebrity Ride will be on Tuesday, May 7.

One of the most popular events of Bike Month, the Cruiser Ride, will take place on Wednesday, May 15. Ride your prettiest bike. Costumes – for both bikes and riders – are not mandatory but welcome.

Vietnam Veterans of America family bike ride will take place on Saturday May 18, just before the end-of-Bike-Week party.

Artists

Local Gallery Artsy Fartsy is hosting a tricycle yard art contest. The trikes will be decorated by local artists, and will be sold by silent auction. The gallery will also show bicycle-themed art throughout the month.

Bike to Work Week

Of course the whole purpose of Bike Month – besides to have fun, which is always important – is to encourage biking for transportation. Bike to Work Week is May 13-17. Bike to Work DAY is May 17. We are organizing another Corporate/Agency Challenge this year, so you can compete for most miles ridden during the week as an individual or team, and get your chance to hold on to our enormous Bike Trophy for a year. Contact Jeff Potter through this site if you want to take part. Jenny Scanland is hosting a Bike Commute Station in the state’s Bryan Building (901 S. Stewart St) on May 1,2, and 3 to share tips for bike commuting. There will be free coffee for bike commuters on Bike to Work Day May 17 at various locations – check here or on our Facebook page for details.

Parties and other events

The End-of-Bike-Week Party will be Saturday, May 18, 3-6 pm, on West Telegraph Street by Telegraph Square in downtown Carson City. There will be a raffle including 2 cruiser bikes, bands, food trucks, tricycle races, and more.

This isn’t all. Other events include a bike social at Tap Shack, a women’s bike clinic led by Muscle Powered board member Cortney Bloomer, a bike movie at Sassafras, potentially a showing of Rick Gunn’s popular Soul Cycler slide show and more. Check back for info as these events are lined up.

New Bike Rack at Curry and Proctor Streets

With the great restaurants, brewery, and almost nightly entertainment downtown, bicycle parking is in high demand along Curry Street. It’s not uncommon to see bikes locked to lamp posts, trash cans, and anything else solid people can find. To help alleviate the bike parking problem, Muscle Powered has installed a bike rack at Curry and Proctor Streets.

Muscle Powered Rack at Curry and Proctor Streets
Shawne Martinez prepares to install the bike rack

This rack had been previously installed on the other side of town, but sadly, the restaurant went out of business. Shawne Martinez lent Muscle Powered his expertise, and got the rack relocated for us.  This rack will accommodate at least a couple bikes on each side, while still leaving plenty of room for sidewalk users.

Muscle Powered Rack at Curry and Proctor Streets
Rack installed and ready for use

Muscle Powered has had requests for more bike racks around town, but all of the Muscle Powered racks are now in use. These racks were made locally several years ago, but due to their design, were quite expensive. There are similar designs available from national vendors that even have the option to include a company logo. But while the cost of the racks may be cheaper, shipping charges would drive the costs back up.

Muscle Powered
New bike rack throws a great evening shadow

One option may be to change the design of the racks, so that they can be made locally for cheaper. Another benefit of this option would be that we could better match a rack with it’s planned location and expected capacity. A simple inverted U-shaped rack may be all that is needed at some locations, while a rack that locks six bikes may work better somewhere else. Whatever decision is made, the racks would be modern, both in design and proper placement. The old style racks placed up against a wall that only hold a front wheel just aren’t adequate in most situations.

What do you think? What’s most important to you? Is there a rack shape that works best for you? Is style important, or would you just like to see more racks regardless of the design? Where in Carson City would you like to see a bike rack?

Nevada Legislature Passes Two Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Bills

The Nevada Vulnerable  Highway Users Law and  3-Foot Passing Law will improve conditions for bicycling and walking in the Silver State

 Nevada’s pedestrian fatality rate is almost twice the US average.  Between 2000 and 2009 541 people were killed while walking in Nevada – this makes the state the eighth most dangerous in the nation for walking, according to Transportation for America’s 2011 “Dangerous by Design” report.  Conditions are also hazardous for bicyclists. Urban streets and rural roads with high speed limits, a discontinuous bicycle and pedestrian transportation system, and  careless drivers in a car-oriented culture make for dangerous conditions.

But Nevada also has a growing and active community of bicycle and pedestrian advocates who got together in the 2011 legislative session to work with legislators on two bills to improve cycling and walking conditions in the state.

Muscle Powered, a grassroots citizens organization advocating for better bicycling and walking conditions in Nevada’s capital city, decided last year to make the passage of a Vulnerable Users Law a priority for the Nevada 2011 legislative session.  The bill was modeled on Oregon’s law, which defines vulnerable users and describes additional penalties for careless driving when vulnerable users are affected.

Assemblywoman Teresa  Benitez Thompson  agreed to sponsor the bill.  Benitez Thompson’s district  – Reno’s “old southwest” neighborhood  – is home to many who commute by bicycle from their homes in her district to the University of Nevada and downtown offices and casinos. She saw the bill as directly affecting the wellbeing of her constituents. A coalition of advocates from Muscle Powered, the Nevada Bicycle Coalition, UNLV’s Safe Community Partnership, the Alta Alpina Cycling Club and others worked closely with Benitez Thompson in drafting the bill and providing testimony in committee hearings.

The Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill passed both houses unanimously and was signed by Governor Sandoval on June 13. The bill amends Nevada’s reckless driving laws to provide that a person who strikes a pedestrian or person who is riding a bicycle has committed reckless driving, and provides penalties from $250 up to $2,000 and driver’s license revocation.

Meanwhile,  in the Nevada Senate, Senators David Parks and John Lee were joined by Assemblyman Elliott  Anderson  and  nine other state senators in introducing a “3-Foot Passing” Law that requires drivers to change lanes, if there is an additional lane, or leave at least three feet of room while passing bicyclists.  This bill also passed both houses easily, and was signed by the governor on May 19.

Muscle Powered’s Kelly Clark, who headed the team that worked on the Vulnerable Users law, initiated it with the idea of making the streets safer. “It seems like the environment on the streets has been getting more angry, not less. This law is really just the beginning. It basically says striking a pedestrian or cyclist can be grounds for reckless driving and losing your license. There is still a lot of work to do: educating the public; getting cyclists to report incidents; getting law enforcement to take accidents seriously. This legislation is a small step, but it is a start.”

Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users Bill in Final Stretch

AB 328, the Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill passed the Nevada Assembly last week – unanimously! Next step is to the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, May 5 – tomorrow –  then if moved on by that committee, to the full Senate.
Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users bill
Bike Advocates Tim Rowe, Lee Harter, Kelly Clark,  Terry McAfee, and Anne Macquarie with Assemblywoman Teresa Benetiz Thompson, sponsor of AB 328, the Nevada Vulnerable Highway Users Law

The bill amends Nevada’s reckless driving statute to include striking a bicyclist or pedestrian as reckless driving, with penalties up to a $2,000 fine and license suspension.  While the law would not of course do everything to protect vulnerable users, its intent is to put drivers on notice that they are sharing the road with these users, and that there will be significant penalties for striking them.

Please consider going to the legislature website to support the bill: here’s an easy link to their public comment page. Post there, and your message will be passed on to your representative.

http://leg.state.nv.us/App/Opinions/A/Default.aspx

Muscle Powered Scheduled Ride

Washoe Valley
Franktown Road

Here are the details for this weekend’s Muscle Powered ride!

  • When: Sat, April 23, 10am – 1pm
  • Where: Meet at Bully’s, 3530 N. Carson St.
  • Description: Carson to Washoe -Combs Canyon north to Washoe Valley, two loops of Franktown Road, 32 miles.

The weather looks questionable for the 23rd. Rides will be canceled if it’s raining or snowing, so be sure to call ride co-leaders Kelly Clark at 315-2719 or Paul Zatarain at 775 513-6335 for more information. We will do our best to update this blog for schedule changes as well.

Muscle Powered Road Rides to Begin

The Muscle Powered Road Rides are back for 2011! The rides will start out easy and gradually pick up speed as the season progresses.

Muscle Powered Ride
Muscle Powered Road Ride in Washoe Valley

Rides will be canceled if it’s raining or snowing, so be sure to call ride co-leaders Kelly Clark at 315-2719 or Paul Zatarain at 775 513-6335 for more information.  We will do our best to update this blog for schedule changes as well.

The first ride will be this weekend on April 9th.

  • 12 noon start time.
  • Carson Loop, 27 mile loop of Carson City.
  • Meet at Bike Habitat, next to Best Buy off Topsy Lane in north Douglas County along Highway 395.

Stay tuned for a full ride calendar. Also, see our calendar page, and follow us on Facebook!

Due to insurance requirements, these rides are for Muscle Powered members only.

The annual membership fees are as follows, and are good for the calendar year. If you paid in June or after of 2010, you are still currently a member! Ride leaders can sign you up before the ride.

  • $10 for Senior/Student
  • $15 for individual
  • $20 for family

Board Meeting!

Muscle Powered is having its quarterly board meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 20, from 6:30PM to about 8:00PM. We will meet at the Straw Hat Pizza, 2010 Highway 50 East, in Carson City. There is a Muscle Powered bike rack out front, and you can bring your bike inside if that fills up.

All members and thinking-about-becoming-a-members are welcome to attend. It helps us plan if you let President Jeff Moser (JeffMoser at musclepowered.org) know you are coming, but you can just show up. The agenda is not out yet, but will be today, and if that makes a difference to you, you can request one ahead of time.

The board of Muscle Powered sets direction for the organization, and also does much of the work. Projects that we are actively involved in are Bicycle Friendly Community status for Carson City, hosting and coordinating activities for Bike Month/Week/Day, regular walks and in-town family rides, monitoring CAMPO, RTC and Public Works to encourage and ensure bicycle and pedestrian facilities and complete streets, hosting a bike valet at the Carson City Downtown Farmers Market, the Carson City Bicycle Route Map, and legislation at the state level to improve safety and equity for bicyclists and pedestrians.

If you would like to find out more about the projects, please come. If you have your own idea of something Muscle Powered should be involved in, come and let us know (though realize we’ll ask you to the be lead on it!).