pambikes


My 2016 Riding Goal

My mileage goal was to ride 100 miles/week.  I don’t think that’s too hard.  Most people can ride lots more than that in a given week.  And some people ride 100 miles/day.  The challenge really is to be consistent.  To ride that much every week.  Week after week.

Last year I didn’t really have a mileage goal other than to ride more than drive.  I did that but when I looked at my mileage last year it was 5,169.  And then I thought, I could have easily ridden 31 more miles to make it 5,200 miles which would be 100 miles/week.  So there was my goal for this year.  This year I got to 5200 miles but then I looked at my cyclometer.

photo-2 And I thought, I only need 48 more miles to round it up to 31,000 accumulated bike riding miles.  (When I got an adult bike in 2006.)  To give you an idea, in 2011, out of the 2673 miles, 1818 were on the Betty Foy from May through Dec.  The other 855 were on my old bike in the first 4 months of the year.  It took me 4 1/2 years to ride 5,855 miles on my first bike.  I almost ride that in a year now.

Based on purchase price, I’ve averaged my price on my Betty Foy down to about 10 cents a mile.  (Have you noticed that the cents symbol isn’t on a keyboard anymore?  Everything is in dollars because everything is that expensive.  But not my Betty Foy cost per mile.)

photo-1

Below is the mileage since I’ve been riding my Rivendell Betty Foy:

2011  2,673

2012  3,756

2013  4,294

2014  4,669

2015  5,169

2016  5,439

I usually don’t like goals but they are useful to track progress.  My real goal is to just ride wherever I want to go.  But it needs to be quantifiable.  And so you actually have a way to measure how close or far away you are.

If you want to track your progress:

You can manually add miles to Strava which will be the connected to the National Bike Challenge.  You can join our team, Charlotte Spokes People.  Most people who do, are amazed at how tracking and seeing other people’s mileage encourages them to keep riding.  And join us on some rides.  Tues. at 10 am (when it’s hot) or 2 pm otherwise.   This ride leaves from Advent Coworking on corner of Louise/Otts one block from Central Coffee.  Tues at 8 pm is PMTNR (Plaza Midwood Tues Night Ride) from Common Market Plaza Midwood.  Sunday Slow Riders leaves from Legion Brewing at 2 pm or 8 pm when it’s hot.  All rides are on the calendar and each ride has a facebook page.

 

Bottom line:

  • You’ll never reach your goal if you don’t have one.
  • You’ll never reach your goal by sitting on the couch.
  • You have to progress toward your goal every day – or you’re going backwards away from it.
  • One step towards your goal is still progress.
  • Progress seems slow.
  • You’ll get there eventually.
  • Sometimes it’s sunny.  Sometimes it’s rainy.  Sometimes it’s hot.  Sometimes it’s cold.  Sometimes it’s windy.  Sometimes it’s perfect.

 

Next year my goal will be 5,500 miles courtesy of the monkey on my back from Douglas Welton.  He planted the seed of the idea and now I’m so close.  Maybe I’ll need to ride a little faster so it won’t take me so long.  I’m the turtle that will get there at some point.

Thanks for everyone who has ridden with me.  You all helped me get to my goal.  There’s a saying that if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together.  We’ll get you to your first 1,000 miles then 3,000 then 5,000…

Come ride with us.

 

 


National Bike Challenge Charlotte Awards Event

 

 

 
sumposterSaturday, December 17th, we hosted the Charlotte awards and celebration event at Advent Coworking Space.  We had lots of prize packages to award to top riders and to raffle off to everyone who could attend.  It was great seeing and meeting some of the riders that were on the leader board.  I met the guy who beat me by 60 points for #8 on the Charlotte team.  He rides a lot!

We posted full challenge rankings for the Charlotte challenge as well as for the Charlotte Spokes People Team and Crank Mafia.

fullresultsrankings  These are the full results rankings for the Charlotte Challenge.

csprankings  These are the rankings for Team Charlotte Spokes People.  Join our team next year!

2016summary  This is a summary of the Challenge.

Kevin Caldwell spoke briefly about his masters thesis, which will research bike commuting.  Please contact him at kcaldw19@uncc.edu if you can contribute.

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Milton and Sarah awarded the prize packages.

 

A big thank you to the Bike Benefits businesses who donated prizes.

Bicycle Benefits

Bicycle Benefits

  • img_20161217_203137-01Queen City Bicycles
  • Common Market
  • Legion Brewing
  • Birdsong Brewing
  • Brixx Pizza
  • Blue Blaze

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Gratitude

It’s fitting that it’s November and this article (Charlotte Agenda article Nov 2015) popped up on the CLT Spokes People facebook page.  It was posted by awesome Christine.  I’m thankful that people are enjoying the Tues. Night Ride as much as I am.  And I am thankful there are so many people who come together to help plan the ride, help lead, sweep, run Glympse, help lead, make the safety announcements, mark turns.  We all work together to make the ride work and enjoyable for all.  We’re all so busy planning the next ride, the next event, etc that I haven’t had time to work on posting the mission statement, etc.  I’m too busy riding.  But I did want to stop and thank each person who comes to ride and to each person who helps in some way each week.  Let’s keep riding.  It’s nice to be noticed for the good work we’re doing.  Pile on some layers and keep riding with me through the cold.tonycamsnow

By the way, Sunday Nov. 8th is Cranksgiving, a food drive on bikes.  Join us at Okra at 1:30 (registration).  Ride starts at 2 pm.

 


Charlotte is #20

The local challenge of the National Bike Challenge just ended midnight last night.  I’ve been tallying up the results and stats.  Charlotte made it to the Top 20!  Wow.  We’ve come a long way.Screenshot from 2015-10-01 14:05:01

History:

I first found out about the National Bike Challenge from David Spranger, my bike hero.  He is always on the leading edge of all things bike to me.  I saw him post about it on facebook.  In 2012, I started the CLT Spokes People team and recruited David and 6 other bike heros of mine.  In 2013, I signed up to manage the local challenge in hopes of getting more people involved.  I remember looking once and seeing Charlotte ranked 59th.  I managed the challenge in 2014 with the Bart Stetler of Queen City Bicycles.  2015 Bart and Pel Deal of Crank Mafia Social Club joined in to help.  And last night we managed to get on the Leader Board in 20th place for Charlotte.

 

Charlotte 2012 2013 2014 2015
Riders 7 12 248 479
Points 311,344 401,482
Miles 12,638 15,184 142,404 179,762
CLT Spokes People
Riders 7 12 66 135
Points 123,079 150,189
Miles 9,022 11,703 55,599 67,329
Crank Mafia
Riders 78 128
Points 119,471 162,191
Miles 56,078 68,171

Screenshot from 2015-10-01 14:05:30

 

 

 

The National Bike Challenge – Charlotte celebration will take place Thursday October  15th at Birdsong Brewing from 7-8 pm.  Join Bart at Queen City Bicycles at 6:30 to ride over.  There will be a ride afterwards as well.

Now, let’s keep riding.  Let’s see who can ride every day until the end of the year.  I hope to see you out riding.

Note: The Challenge used to run from May through August.  In 2014 the Challenge was extended through Sept.  Some numbers have been estimated.

In honor of Al P. Gorman

I must admit, I never personally knew Al.  Everyone always saw him riding his bike around Plaza Midwood.  This is a picture from July 4th, 2015 that my daughter took of Al as he rode down The Plaza.  As you can see he was on his way home from Harris Teeter.  He rode his bike everyday.  Just as many of us do.  Slow down, pay attention and put down the phone.  Rest in peace, Al.

alcd


Bike Lanes Are A Bust For This Cyclist

by Dave Roberts
There used to be a time when I loved sprinting down East Boulevard aiming to time the lights so that my exodus from Uptown would be quick and have off to much more peaceful riding home. It was a guilty pleasure to shoot past so many cars stuck in stop-and-go traffic. I had a nice wide lane, seldom used, stretching for several miles. I was supposed to be here and it was safe.
The first incident quickly made me realize that people totally forget that bike lanes are there. Just because cars are stopped doesn’t mean the bike lane is jammed too. As I came rolling up to an intersection someone who had grown tired of waiting for traffic to move took an opportunity to pull a hard right into Dilworth. I barely had time to react but I managed to stop and avoided a collision. I’m certain the driver never knew I was there. I carried on.
The second incident affirmed the first and established a theme. A driver pulling left on to East from a side street swung their vehicle very wide and way into the bike lane just as I was approaching the same spot. There was about a foot left for me to use but I managed. The close proximity gave me a chance to smack the truck’s doors hard enough to truly frighten the driver into slamming on the brakes. I carried on — shaking my head.
The third incident established once and for all that riding on East Blvd in the bike lane was pretty risky. It was the Friday before Memorial Day 2014 and traffic was very light due to the holiday. I zoomed through the green light at Scott Avenue picking up a good amount of speed. I noticed a car in front of me slowing down but no turn signal was blinking. I thought, “probably lost or on their phone,” so I backed off a teensy bit. This continued for several blocks and caused other cars to catch up and build-up behind.  After passing Cumberland Avenue the car drifted a little on to the white line of the bike lane — which caught my attention — but still no turn signal. I began to prepare for a much slower descent down the hill because of this driver.
Then it happened… the driver made a hard turn into the Showmars parking, still no signal, and after my attempts to brake without flipping over the bike — all while yelling for the driver to stop —  I slammed into the car and went down. Luckily no part of me — or the bike —  ended up under the vehicle. My head did hit the pavement but the helmet did it’s job well and I buy good gear.
All I could hear was the thudding of my heart in my ears as the driver asked me if I was OK over and over again. He was very shocked and scared but courteous to me as I looked for damage first on myself and then on the bike. I wanted to yell at him but quelled that urge. Anger would not make this accident go away. I escaped without road rash but knew that I had hit the car very hard, bracing against it with my left arm before slamming against the pavement onto my left thigh. Parts of me were a little numb but I could move and there was no blood gushing everywhere. What a relief.
With all the adrenaline pumping I felt OK. I got the driver’s number and assured him and the other bystanders that it was likely I could ride home. But I couldn’t. Once I mounted the bike and tried to put any weight on the left arm the pain made me see stars. I would later learn at the urgent care that I had a radial head fracture. My elbow was broken. I was off the bike for more than 2 months and it took another 2 to rebuild my strength and stamina. I had lost a Summer of riding. What a real bummer.
So… bike lanes don’t really do much for me now. I’m extremely wary when I use them and I don’t feel safe. There are no guarantees that a driver will pay attention to the lane or its occupants. Also, the lanes are constructed in such a way that vehicles aren’t prevented from entering them. To me, this just means that the road is a little wider, there are some markings laid out that folks should notice but the cyclist is never safe. I may as well ride in the road where I can be seen both as a cyclist — and a true obstruction — and not be forgotten about until it’s far too late.

One Year Car Free

Last year when Bethanie joined the National Bike Challenge I was lucky she signed up for our team, the Charlotte Spokes People.  She’s a little competitive.  Somewhere along the way of pedaling everyday and racking up lots of miles on her bike, she got the idea to go car free.  Now it’s been over a year.  Here’s a snippet of her blog post with a link below to the entire story.

This is my favorite part:

“You can inspire people with something as small as a bicycle.  It doesn’t take lots of money or even a fancy bike.   Sometimes all it takes is a 1983 Schwinn, which is red, with white highlights.”

 

Read the rest:  Bethanie’s blog link

Bethanie inspires me everyday.  We can all inspire each other.  Come ride with us.  And be on our Charlotte Spokes People National Bike Challenge team.  Sign up for the Challenge then join our team Natl Bike Challenge team leader board.


S240

As edited by: Anna Benton
Photos: Carl Wilson

 

A few years ago, I read about the S24O (sub 24 hour overnight bike camping) on the Rivendell Bicycles website.   However, the opportunity to embark on such a trip within the Charlotte area involved some difficult metrics. The closest campground is the McDowell Nature Preserve, a short 18 mile journey; yet the only plausible route involves 10-12 miles on South Tryon. South Tryon is predominantly a four lane highway with a 45 mph limit until it crosses I-485, at which point it transitions to a 55 mph limit.  Equipped with the skills learned in Cycling Savvy, I felt prepared to ride South Tryon all the way out to camp with my seven trusty companions.

Start of our trip

We convened on the little sugar Creek greenway at 3pm on a sunny Saturday. The weather was perfect.  The high was mid 80’s and the low was about 58F.  It was an impressive crew of  bikes to behold as we saddled up alongside the glimmering silver ball that abuts the Charlotte skyscape.   The group consisted of Matt, riding his carbon road bike with full Campy group, with whom we met near Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Next, was Carl riding his handmade steel frame fully loaded with a tent, stove and provisions. Then Geoff atop camp2a Lemond road bike with his tent and gear in a messenger bag on his back.  Paul rode a Surly Big Dummy cargo bike, pulling a Burley trailer with his 2 year old son behind him, and fully loaded with tent, gear and provisions.  Anna rode her Bruce Gordon touring bike loaded with ortlieb panniers for the family.  I (Pam) was on my Rivendell Betty Foy, equipped with an Eno hammock, bug net and chair in my Green Guru Freerider Pannier and a wicker basket pannier. Amanda was on her Schwinn Varsity (called Rosalita) with panniers loaded with a hammock, home made sleepsack and down comforter.  Our bikes streamed down Charlotte streets in colors of red, black, green and blue.

 

In spite of our heavy loads, we made great time on the ride out and had mostly nice encounters with motorists, with the exception of a few SC drivers (SC KUD 298?).  Sure, we got an occasional honk but most people politely flowed around us. Also, by taking the lane we certainly increased our field of sight and our visibility to the drivers around us. We all commented on our relative comfort along the route and enjoyed the overall smooth journey.

 

We stopped around mile 16 at the Publix in Steele Creek, 3 miles away from the camp site.  Everyone picked up something for dinner and we refilled our water bottles. After that it was a quick ride to camp with Carowinds towering tall in the distance and an oasis of trees waiting for us after our journey on the pavement.

camp9

camp13 camp12

We set up camp in three large camping sites with a good mix of hammocks and tents. After that, Andrew met us with his Hobie Mirage tandem kayak (pedal driven) and took everyone out on the lake.  It was a beautiful sunset over Lake Wylie followed by a cool evening by the fire.

camp3

 

 

Great weather, great company and all around a wonderful first S24O camping trip. Come join us next time. Until then, lets get out and ride!

 

 


F.A.Q. 1

  1. Can I come ride PMTNR?  Do I need to register?  Pay?
    Of course you can come ride.  Everyone is welcome to ride with us.  No need to register or pay.  Just show up.
  2. Any other requirements?
    Lights – front and rear, a helmet and a road worthy bike and a positive attitude.  No Debbie Downers, please.
  3. I want to ride but don’t have a light?  Helmet?  Can I borrow one?
    PMTNR 5/12/15 Credit - Kaitlyn Akers

    PMTNR 5/12/15
    Credit – Kaitlyn Akers

    Yes, but let me know a day ahead of time so I can remember to bring it.  Bring $5 as a deposit.  You’ll get your money back when I get the borrowed light or helmet back.

  4. What does “road worthy” mean?
    Have you ridden your bike recently?  Have you pumped up the tires within the last week?  Have you checked your chain?  Do your brakes work?  Ride around the block a few times and make sure everything is ok.
  5. What bike should I bring?  Road?  Mountain Bike?
    Any bike that works if fine.  You’ll see all kinds of bikes.
  6. Do you think I’ll make it?
    If you’re unsure, go ride 10 miles and see how you feel.  Since we stop at 10 miles for a short break this is the most pedaling you’ll be doing.  The return is generally about 5 miles.  If you’re still unsure, bring $2 and put your bike on the bus.  Or look at the route and plan to peel off early.
  7. When will I get home?
    The ride usually tries to return to the start by 10:30.  We usually get to the stop at the 10 mile mark around 9:30.  We allow time for a drink and restroom break then return.  Sometimes this is delayed if we have mechanical issues along the way, if we have a large group, etc.  Look at the route before the ride and plan accordingly.  If you need to leave early, bring a friend so y’all can make sure you both get home.
  8. Why do you leave at 8 pm?
    Most people have a hard enough time getting to the start by 8.  By the time most people get home, let the dog out, and get their bike, it’s about 8.
  9. The forecast looks iffy.  Will you still ride?
    YES!  We NEVER cancel the ride.  If it’s Tuesday at 8 pm, we’re riding.
  10. When did you start the ride?
    April 2013.
  11. Where do I get a Bike Benefits sticker?
    At area participating businesses.  You can look at the Bike Benefits website and look for the sticker icon.  Or just ask me, I always have some.
  12. How much is a Bike Benefits (helmet) sticker?
    $5
  13. Does it expire?
    No.
  14. Where do I see all the Bike Benefit offers?
    On the pocket list.  Print one off once a month since they change as we add businesses.
  15. Do you have a car?
    Yes, I have a car.  I just don’t like driving as much as I enjoy riding my bike.

Happy Chinese New Year

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Every year I review my past year on Chinese New Year.  The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar so this year Chinese New Year is Feb. 19th. This is the year of the sheep.  I like to see how much I’ve ridden, to reflect, to see what I need to do better or differently.  Happy Chinese New Year!

 

 

 
Photo: Jeff Cravotta

 

 

tincanannie2

 

Tin Can Annie; Photo: Wesley Johnson

My Inspiration

Please allow me to introduce you to my inspiration.  This is a photo of Tin Can Annie.  By the wonder of facebook someone posted a picture one day.  This is the lady I used to see riding her bike everywhere all the time way back in the early1990s.  She was always around Central, Plaza….   Yes, I’ve lived in Plaza Midwood since that time.  She rode day, night, rain or shine.  And she was always dressed head to toe in orange.  She was my inspiration.  You never know when someone will see you as their inspiration.  Keep riding.

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Rides

Both of the rides –  PMTNR and Sunday Slow Ride are doing well.  I’m so glad people show up twice a week to ride.  We’ve had some great rides around town.  These are my 2 favorite days of the week.  Thanks for riding with me if you’ve been and if you haven’t, please join us sometime.  We have a 15 mile ride with a 10 mile stop then a 5 mile return.  A few times we’ll be a mile or two longer or shorter but that’s the idea.  I love that I meet some of the nicest, most interesting people on the rides.

 

Mileage

Bike Miles 4,669 (last year 4,294)

Car Miles 7,000

Long distance trips 4,500

Around town 2,500

I still haven’t met my goal of 5,000 miles/year on my bike.  Maybe next year.

Cumulative bike miles 20,394

My goal is to ride my bike everywhere.  This year I remembered to track trip miles for out of town drives so I can see how much I drive around town.  I’m surprised it’s still this much but I do drive to the farmer’s market on Yorkmont every weekend since I have to be there early and I’m pressed for time on Saturday.  That’s most of the mileage.  The rest are running the kids around to the doctor, dentist, birthday parties, etc.  I don’t like to drive my car nearly as much as I love to ride my bike.

 

National Bike Challenge Stats: (May-Sept 2014)

5,281 points

2,241 miles

152 days ridden

#7 rank locally

#1245 rank nationally

Monthly record 489 miles

Best day 42 miles

I don’t consider myself athletic.  I just like to ride my bike.  I’m surprised I was ranked #7 for the Bike Challenge.  A few miles here and there really do add up.  You don’t have to ride far or fast just consistently.  I think I missed one day during the 5 month challenge.  I even rode when I was out of town.

 

Bike Benefits

My goal for Charlotte Bike Benefits was to be the largest program this year but we didn’t quite make that goal this year.  We are #2 – behind Seattle, WA by about 17 businesses.  Let me know if you have suggestions for additions to the program.  And please ride your bike and support our participating businesses so they’ll continue to be engaged and supportive of bicycling in Charlotte.  Please let the participating businesses know that you support them because they are a part of the Bike Benefits program.  They need to know it’s a positive draw for them.

Cycling Savvy Charlotte

I taught my first Cycling Savvy class in December.  I’ll be scheduling classes regularly.  Let me know when you want to take a class and we’ll make it happen.  You can now sign up for notifications on the website so you’ll know when the next class is scheduled.  Here’s the link.  I like to keep the class sizes small (less than 8 people) so everyone can get the most out of the classes.  I know everyone says “I know how to ride a bike and don’t need to take a class.”  But if you learn one thing to make riding more enjoyable, less stressful and it could save your life, it’s worth it.  Just sign up and take the class and take my word for it.  You’ll learn a lot.  I promise.  Riding a bicycle is easy.  Riding a bicycle mindfully and courteously makes every ride more enjoyable.  Come learn how you can ride anywhere.

BikeFest

BikeFest is planned for Sunday May 3rd.  Mark your calendars and save the date.  And better yet, help me plan it and be on the inside.  Help me make this a great event to help share the joy of bike riding in Charlotte.  Planning starts now.  You can either help plan or on the day of the event or both.  There are lots of opportunities to help support bicycling in Charlotte.  Let’s get people on a bike so they can remember the joy they had riding just like the first time they learned to ride long ago.  Email me at pamlikestobike at gmail.com if you can help.  Thanks in advance.

 

Thanks!

Thanks for riding with me.  Keep inviting your friends to ride with us.  We’re filling up the calendar and have events most of the time now.  If you didn’t read it, here’s a link to the Year in Review newsletter.  As Rocky says, “Ride a Bike!”