Monthly Archives: August 2014

National Bike Challenge – update

We are about 100 days into the National Bike Challenge.  This year we have 239 riders who have logged more than 112,000 miles!  That's a lot of miles.  These people are actually riding their bikes. A LOT!  The Challenge ends September 30th.  The competition will end but hopefully we'll all still be riding.

I'm planning a celebration for September 26th.  I'll try to round up some prizes that we can give away to the riders of the Challenge.  If you're observant, you'll notice this is on the same night as Critical Mass.  We'll have the celebration at the stop for September Critical Mass.  If you'd like to donate a prize, let me know.  These people have logged some serious miles during the Challenge.  It'll be fun to see them win something too.

Keep riding!  I'll look for you on the streets of Charlotte.

Upcoming Bike events scheduled

The calendar is filling up.  There's so many great bike events scheduled in the next few months.

Tonight: Critical Mass for August.  I think we're headed to the new OMB.

9/1 – Yard Art Day 2 pm ride from EcoLicious.  We'll ride around to view the various art installations.

9/6 – Common Ground music festival from 12-11 pm in Plaza Midwood.  The best way to arrive is by bike since the parking will be tight otherwise.

9/19 – National (Park)ing Day – hopefully I'll get it together to install a temporary park in a parking space somewhere.  We need to appreciate green space and common spaces more than parking spaces.  Thanks for riding your bike to help support green spaces.

9/20 International Day of Peace Scavenger Hunt to benefit a Travel Scholorship for Hosteling International.

9/26 – September Critical Mass

10/3 – New Belgium Brewing Clips.

If you would like to volunteer for the Clips event please message Harry Johnson with your e-mail address and telephone #. He'll add you to the master list and send to you the New Belgium volunteer tracking sheet which lists specific slots that need to be filled.

Here's the Facebook page for the Charlotte event, "LIKE" it, and start inviting friends.

10/4 Plaza Midwood Art Crawl

10/9-11 NC Bike Summit in Greensboro

10/31 Halloween Critical Mass – I think there will be a Star Wars theme

See the calendar for links and details.  

And all of these are in additon to the normally scheduled rides.  Get on your bike and ride!

1,000 miles

Here's how.  Come ride PMTNR and Sunday Slow Riders with me every week.  We ride 15 miles each time.  That's 30 miles a week.  Multiply that by 52 and that's 1,560 miles in one year.  And that's assuming, you'll be out of town, have plans, are sick or just lazy some weeks.

To put this in perspective, it's about 3,000 miles across the United States.  Since the National Bike Challenge started in May I've ridden about 1,600 miles or the equivalent of half way across the country.  That seems like a lot but it's basically just a little riding every day.  And you can do it too.

Bike Powered Parade Float

We've been building a bike powered parade float.  Thanks to Rob for building the float, Ryan for building the bike power and Marley and Grace for the construction of everything else.  Tate, Bethanie, Madison, Madison's friend and Josh and I also helped out.  Thanks to Dianna for proposing the idea and attending the mandatory meeting.  It is going to be awesome!  I'll add pictures later.  I don't think we took any tonight.  We were too tired.  Marley started early this morning and we finished up around 10 or so.  

The float will be in the first of many parades next Sunday.  The parade is the Charlotte Gay Pride parade.  And thanks to Dianna, bicycles will have a great presence in the parade.  If you'd like to volunteer to ride in the parade, please check out the facebook event page.  There is a need for 35 people.   We are in group 2 number 5. So we need to be staged by 11:00 and all the people need to be there at 12:15.  Join in on the event page or if you're not on facebook, let me know and I'll pass your info onto Dianna.

Ride (Your City)

This is the time of year everyone is taking pictures of their bike adventures, charity rides, bike riding in beautiful far away places.  Those things are always great and lovely but few and far between for most of us who have a family, work, have normal obligations.  Too many people only train for special events or occasions and forget about the beauty and delight of daily riding.  They get trapped in a neighborhood afraid to cross a busy street, don't make time in their daily schedule to ride their bike and end up driving everywhere while the bike collects dust.

To me a bicycle in the garage is like a caged animal wanting to be out in the sun, on the road, seeing new things and going places.  Dust off your bike that has spiderwebs and dust.  Pump up the tires, oil the chain, make sure the brakes work then just ride.  Anywhere.  Everywhere.  All the time.

See the sun set.  Watch the moon rise.  Watch the buildings light up.  Listen to the cicadas, crickets, birds, dogs.  It's always a great time to ride.  Wherever you are.  Experience all the neighborhoods of Charlotte.  We have a wonderful tree canopy.  Charlotte is a beautiful place to ride your bike.  Most streets and neighborhoods are wonderful to ride on.  Come ride PMTNR or Sunday Slow Ride with us and discover your city.

The story of PMTNR

One night after Critical Mass, the group who ride suggested we should ride more than once a month.  I think it was Erik, Beth, Amy, Adam, Randy.  We agreed to meet on Tuesday night at 8 pm.  And so it began.

Like most people, I loved to ride with others so that I could discover new routes, go different places, be more visible.  But most importantly, I just wanted to ride.  And like most people, between working, family commitments, etc. night time is the best time to consistently make time to ride.  Especially after daylight savings time when it's generally dark after work.  And I didn't want to ride alone as a female.  

Around this same time I was reading "On Bicycles."  The book mentioned Bike Parties such as San Jose Bike Party (SJBP) and it included references and links.  SJBP was described as a ride for everyone with a fun, positive vibe.  This was the inspiration for PMTNR.  I wanted the ride to be called the Tuesday Night Ride so everyone would remember what day it was.  We always met at the Common Market and since there are 2 Common Markets we added the PM for Plaza Midwood.  Thus, Plaza Midwood Tuesday Night Ride.  We chose 8 pm so we'd all have time to get home, have dinner then meet for the ride.  We all met and decided where to ride and we each took turns where we were going.  It was just a handful of people.  But I kept showing up and kept asking everyone to ride with me.  EVERY week.

Ryan suggested we make a facebook page so we could get the word out about the ride.  He set it up.  And we took pictures and then people saw how much we were having and started to come.  

We've tried to refine things along the way to try to improve the ride and so people will know what to expect.  We always ride 10 miles to a stop then another 5 miles to the beginning.  It's always right around 15 miles.  And we have a planned route with a leader and a sweep (the person in the back).  The sweep makes sure we don't lose anyone.  And to help with mechanical issues such as a chain that has fallen off, a flat tire, etc.  

And now we consistently have more than 100 riders every week when it's warm and sunny.  When it's threatening to rain, we have about 65 people and if it's snowing, we have about 12 people.  Amazingly, we all show up at 7:45 every week and we roll out at 8 pm.  

If you haven't ridden with us yet, please do come ride.  Just once.  You'll see how much fun it is. 

More rides and more miles

The national Bike Challenge is in full swing.  Although the Local Challenge really isn't that Local due to the way the software works this year, it's still fun to create teams, internal rivalries and such.  Have you noticed people are riding more and for more miles.  And hopefully we're all supporting the local Bike Benefits businesses too.  For example if you look at the Local leaderboard and click on any person and see their mileage for the month.  One person I looked at was riding 325 miles in May and in July rode 760 miles.  That's a lot of miles….on a bike!

Keep pedaling!

Pumps in Every Neighborhood

Here’s the most up to date list of the pumps stashed all over town in case you need some air. ┬áThere’s just about one in every neighborhood so you shouldn’t be too far away when you notice you’re tire needs a little bit of air. ┬áTry to keep your tires properly inflated to avoid pinch flats.

Plaza Midwood – Gumbo, Common Market

Commonwealth/Morningside – Bean Vegan Cuisine

NoDa – Bridsong Brewing Co.

Uptown – Belfast Mill

Elizabeth – Spoke Easy

Dilworth – East Boulevard Bar and Grille, Bulldog Beer and Wine

South End – Queen City Bicycles, Common Market

Myers Park – Sir Edmond Halley’s, BikeSource

Thanks to all the Bike Benefits businesses and members.

As the list is updated, you can check the Bicycle Benefits website and look for the pump icon.

Updated 07-20-15


The National Bike Challenge

The National Bike Challenge runs from may through September this year.  Somehow it gets people to ride their bike more.  It's funny and silly that logging your miles and seeing them on a Leaderboard against other riders gets some people in rivalries.  There's 2 guys on The Charlotte Spokes People team who keep trying to best each other.  Then there's people who want to be the top man or woman on the team or in Charlotte or whatever.  I remember the first time I did the Challenge a few years back.  I was surprised how many miles accumulate just riding here and there a few miles at a time.  It's way more miles than the person who talks about loving to ride their bike 50 miles occasionally.  The people who ride the most are the most consistent riders.  The ones that NEED to ride to have a good day.  It's therapy.  It keeps them sane, happy, smiling, etc. So there's 61 more days of the Challenge.  Let's keep riding.  And smiling!

Take a look at the stats on the Local Challenge and see how everyone is doing.  We have a lot more riders than last year.  And the miles we've ridden is great!