I’m sharing this message from Stacy Williams Dugan regarding Bethanie Johnson.
” Bethanie was hit by a car while riding her bike home last night [Thursday]. She is ok, home and resting but needs support. A link has been created to help with meals and assist in any monetary way possible (link in comments)….please share but use this one link so we have a central location. Reach out to me if you’d like to help in another way, too. Thank you! Blessed to have a strong tribe that will surround her now ?”
Here is the link if you are able to help out with meals: SignUpGenius
And here is a fundraising link for Bethanie: http://cltspok.es/BethanieGive
Please see the following copy of a Charmeck email for more information on the Cross Charlotte Trail:
You are receiving this e-mail because you either signed up to receive periodic updates about the 26-mile Cross Charlotte Trail or you were one of the approximately 200 people that attended the Cross Charlotte Trail Master Plan meeting on June 30, 2015. The meeting was a tremendous success and we could feel the energy and enthusiasm for the Cross Charlotte Trail (XCLT) throughout the rooms!
Attendees were asked to identify trail preferences such as amenities, where the trail should be built in sections where options exist, and how and where they would travel along the trail. Staff shared how trails improve quality of life through recreation, commuting and connectivity options while encouraging economic development and tourism.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the XCLT with us. We asked, “How do you think the XCLT will benefit Charlotte?” Here’s what we heard from you: XCLT video
Want to hear more? Tune in to WFAE onJuly 21, 9 a.m.
On Tuesday, July 21, 2015, Charlotte Talks will dedicate a one-hour episode to the XCLT on at WFAE, 90.7 FM.
Program guests will include:
- Joe Frey of City of Charlotte Engineering & Property Management, XCLT Project Manager.
- Jay Higginbotham of Mecklenburg County Asset & Facility Management, Greenway Project Manager.
- Ty Houck, Director of Greenways for Greenville County, SC, expert on Greenville’s popular and successful Swamp Rabbit Trail.
- Candace Damon of consultant firm HR&A, expert on economic development potential of urban trails.
The show will air live Tuesday at 9 a.m. and be rebroadcast at 9 pm. It can also be streamed from the station’s web site, WFAE, Charlotte Talks.
Share your thoughts about the XCLT on the interactive trail map below.
You can view and comment on the proposed alignments, add destinations or propose new routes with the interactive trail map. To access the map portal, click on the map below.
The City of Charlotte is partnering with Mecklenburg County to create a 26-mile trail and greenway facility that will stretch from the City of Pineville, through Center City and on to the UNC Charlotte campus and Cabarrus County line. This trail is being named the Cross Charlotte Trail (XCLT). When completed, residents will be able to travel seamlessly from one end of Charlotte to the other. Approximately 98,000 jobs and 80,000 residents will be within a half mile of the proposed trail, which will connect to many treasured places and major employment centers.
Quick blog post to provide an introduction, some updates, and news for the coming weeks. Firstoff, my name is Paul Benton, and I’ll be helping out with the website as Ryan Stachurski readies for his move to the Florida Keys. Ryan’s work and expertise can be seen all over this site – even more so on the back end – and his help will be missed.
The next housekeeping matter is an update to the structure of the blogs. In the past, we’ve had separate sections for different authors (Pam’s blog, Bethanie’s blog). The Blog link at the top of the page should now take you to a chronological listing of all entries – we’ll do our best to remind you throughout the post who is writing, and the author will be tagged at the top of the entry. We’re hoping this will simplify things a bit, and perhaps open the doors a bit to more contributors and guest bloggers. If you are interested in helping out with this, drop us a line.
Public Input is sought on pedestrian and bicycle improvements and connections along Independence Blvd (including Monroe Rd). The meeting is this Tuesday, June 23rd at Ovens Auditorium (map). You can drop in any time between 5 – 7:30pm. More information here.
Finally, I’d like to ensure that all Charlotte Spokes People are aware of the upcoming Public Meeting for the Cross Charlotte Trail. In case you’re unfamiliar, the Cross Charlotte Trail will connect 26 miles of trail and greenway facilities from Pineville to UNCC and the Cabarrus County Line. Through the upcoming meeting, those planning this trail seek information on how the trail will be used and by whom. I think it is critical that cyclists are represented in all of these public meetings – please make plans to attend. The meeting is Tuesday, June 30 at the Charmeck Government Center (4th St. & S. Davidson St. uptown). Drop in any time between 4:30-7:30PM. Additional bicycle racks will be available in the plaza on the Fourth Street side of the building. Facebook link (RSVP) here.
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.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
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!
I was out on this past Tuesday’s PMTNR and I started looking around and noticing a few things. The first thing I noticed was that there were a whole bunch of new people. The second thing I noticed was a bit more immediate to the ride; we had two accidents in the first fifteen minutes of riding, which was something I hadn’t really seen before. Since I was close to both crashes (nobody was injured in the making of these crashes by the way), it was easy to see how they happened. Too many people bunched in too close proximity, and not familiar with the unwritten rules of group riding that you learn over time.
All that said, here is a list of what I hope are some helpful tips if you are new to group riding.
1. Know thyself. Only you know how comfortable you are on a bike. When on a group ride, people can get squashed together. It’s good to know how much personal space you need.
2: Increase your sphere of awareness. Here’s a great rule I learned guiding a raft. On a group ride, there will be people all around you. Pay attention to what’s happening.
3. Stopping and starting. If during a ride you need to stop for any reason and there are people behind you, let them know. You can do the slowing/stopping hand signal, or you can yell, “stopping!” loudly enough for the people around you to hear. This will keep the people behind you from crashing and they will appreciate your consideration. When starting make sure you have enough space. If you are a wobbly starter, you need more space…make space for yourself to get going
4. Passing. It is so helpful when you are passing someone to yell out, “On the right” or, “On the left” to the person you’re passing, especially if you are trying to squeeze by in a small space. If the person in front of you doesn’t know you’re coming, they may swerve and you will have caused the accident by not letting someone know you’re there.
5. Gear. Wear a helmet and have appropriate lighting. Check your tires before heading out.
6. Remember this is a ride, not a race. There are no trophies at the finish line, and hey, there isn’t a finish line. This has been a difficult concept for me since I can be just a little competitive. But a few weeks ago on a ride I heard someone say to a friend, “This is the perfect pace for just relaxing after a hard day.” It really struck me that that was the point of PMTNR, to have a nice relaxing time after work. It’s important on a group ride to make sure we can all finish safely. Look out for your fellow riders by not trying to blow them away with your super human speed. There are other wonderful rides in Charlotte if you want to practice going fast.
7. Final tip–have fun. That’s what you came to do!
- 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.
- Any other requirements?
Lights – front and rear, a helmet and a road worthy bike and a positive attitude. No Debbie Downers, please.
- I want to ride but don’t have a light? Helmet? Can I borrow one?
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.
- 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.
- What bike should I bring? Road? Mountain Bike?
Any bike that works if fine. You’ll see all kinds of bikes.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The forecast looks iffy. Will you still ride?
YES! We NEVER cancel the ride. If it’s Tuesday at 8 pm, we’re riding.
- When did you start the ride?
- 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.
- How much is a Bike Benefits (helmet) sticker?
- Does it expire?
- 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.
- Do you have a car?
Yes, I have a car. I just don’t like driving as much as I enjoy riding my bike.
Guest blog post by: Bethanie Johnson
Yesterday morning pretty much began with the cycling community on facebook posting a photo and news story about a cyclist who was hit on Wendover fairly early in the day. The first thing cyclists ask whenever there is a bicycle down in Charlotte (and, I imagine, everywhere else), and someone posts a news story, is this, “Who’s bike is that?” Cyclists are generally known best for their bikes. For instance, it is well known among my cycling friends that I don’t ride a “real bike” most of the time. I’ve got an old trek–a 96 model, blue, single track 930. When I’m not riding that one—when it’s not rainy, snowy or sleety with slippery roads, I ride an old red and white Schwinn, circa 1983. I usually sport mismatched panniers from Target. So yesterday, when someone looked at the photo closely and noticed that the child carrier attached to the bike in the photo was yellow, they asked if it was Marley’s bike and I said, “No, Marley’s Peugot is red and white.” Someone mentioned that the child carrier looked a lot like one that’s been at the Tuesday Night Ride recently, and my friend Pamela confirmed that it did belong to that person. Anna is her name. She’s a wife and mom and this year she decided to go car free. I remember this because we talked about it at the grand opening of a local bike shop called The Spoke Easy a few months ago. I’d never met her before that but we sat and talked about what it was like not to drive. She asked me questions about how I managed and we talked until the ride was leaving. What I liked about her was what a down to earth and sweet person she is. No facade, just real.
Yesterday she got hit by a driver who ran a red light. She was stopped and waiting for her turn to go, and the motorist ran a red light and drove into her. We found out later that there weren’t any serious injuries. Her child who was in the carrier at the time was fine. Ana has a broken nose and some scratches. I was frustrated. I was frustrated because once again, no immediate charges were filed, and because I feel very often cars don’t see us, and even more often aren’t paying attention to the road. Later when Pamela Murray looked at the comments section of one of the articles that was posted about the story, she noticed a deluge of negative comments about cyclists. Here, a cyclist following traffic rules who was hit by a motorist breaking the law, was being criticized online for what? For the act of riding a bike?
Yesterday Anna was fine, and I breathed a sigh of relief for her and for her child–and for her husband. She was also not at fault, since the driver ran a red light at an extremely precarious intersection. But every time I see a cyclist down around Charlotte, I know that it really could happen to any of us. I know this because I rode all summer. I know this because as I ride I often pass drivers who are distracted. Or drivers who are distracted pass me–often too closely. When I ride my bike I have all my antennas on high alert. Sometimes I give lights an extra few seconds to judge the next move of any car that’s close enough to hit me. When I ride downtown in the right lane, which doubles as parking in Charlotte, I watch each car I pass for “what if” scenarios…what if that car pulls out…what if someone opens a door? Any time I post online about riding at night or near misses or a friend who gets hurt, I’m told to “be careful.” I have to say, I don’t think I could possibly be any more careful than I general am. I now know a whole lot of cyclists, and I don’t know of even one who has a death wish. We like life and the living of it. It’s probably the reason we are mostly so passionate about riding bikes.
To be honest, I do a lot of my riding on the greenway. When I commute to work, at least half of my ride is there. I’d rather not ride in rush hour traffic. I am lucky in this since the greenway starts at the bottom of my street and literally ends at my school. I hardly ever have to deal with cars during the school year. I can really do a lot that I need to do from the greenway since I’m close to it and most of the shopping I need to do is conveniently located close to it as well. It’s a terrific situation for me as a car free mom most of the time. But everyone can’t ride the greenway all the time, because the greenway doesn’t go everywhere. Also on nice days it can quickly become congested with pedestrians and thus dangerous for cycle commuters trying to get from point A to point B. On rainy days it very often floods, so then an alternate route is necessary and as I discovered this winter, on snowy/icey days it can stay covered in snow and sheets of ice for several days longer than main roads.
In the summer I have a longer commute that isn’t on the greenway, it’s a 26 mile round trip of a combination of greenway, bike lane and riding on the rode. I rode that trip every day I worked this summer without incident. But again, I’m careful. Like Anna and myself, and of course Pamela Murray, if you are a mom, you are careful. I have a kid and I would love to hang around and see what happens to her, so I’m as safe as can be, and that’s how I know that Anna was being safe as well, outside of the news report. She was towing her child and she was following the rules, because if you are a Mom, that’s what you do.
This year of biking I’ve met so many people who are car free and what we have in common is that we will always try and find the safest routes to and from where we are going. Greenways, neighborhood streets, quiet roads.
But sometimes, as Anna did yesterday, we have to get on a busy street. She was going to Home Depot. She was riding with another mom (safety in numbers) who was towing another child. She was following traffic rules. And inspite of negative comments, she has the right to do that. In North Carolina, bicycles are legally defined as vehicles. That’s from the NCDOT website, and I just looked it up yesterday because I wanted to make sure I was not misunderstanding. As vehicles, cyclists are asked to follow all traffic laws, wear helmets, and have a front and back light mounted for night riding. They are asked to make their turns clear by signaling. Those are the rules. Many of our advocates now fully support what is called “control and release” because that’s the best way to be seen on the street. Much of the time drivers aren’t paying attention to the roadside, or if they are, they are not sure how much room they should leave us when passing (3 full feet of passing room is the rule of thumb and the law in many states, but not ours–because we are designated as vehicles in NC and can take the whole lane if we choose to do that). I’ve learned to become comfortable with getting out into the lane myself, even though it goes against my personal philosophy of not taking up too much space and not being a bother to people. I became very comfortable with it earlier this winter when, twice in the same week two different drivers made illegal left turns right into me when I had the right of way. I want to be seen by traffic, and in being seen, safe.
I was so upset yesterday when I heard that it was Anna who was down in South Charlotte, and so relieved to know she wasn’t hurt. One of my fellow riders commented on the strong community we’ve developed, and how amazing it is to be part of cycling in Charlotte where our community cares what happens to us and will reach out and help. It’s so true, and I’m grateful for that every day. But yesterday’s accident made me think hard about the rules of cycling, about riding on roads with cars (in an accident the car is going to win), about being present and paying attention. I believe what’s at the heart of our problem is the here and now and our increasing inability to be present in the moment. One of the reasons I love to bike is that it sets you down right in this moment right here and makes you be right here and right now. It’s nearly impossible to talk on the phone while riding a bike. It’s also unlikely that you can text friends or check messages. That would be dumb. As a person in the moment on a bicycle, I am paying attention. As a cyclist, I continue to believe that the rush, the need to be two steps ahead of ourselves, and the need to be part of an electronic web of everything at all times keeping us from doing our best to keep ourselves, and one another, safe.
I am so thankful that my new friend Anna is safe and well this evening. I would so like the future of cycling to be one where we are accepted as the vehicles we already have the legal right to be, and that both motorists and cyclists can do our best to be present in the here and now and thus keep the roads safe for all of us.
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
Tin Can Annie; Photo: Wesley Johnson
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 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 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!”