Sunday, April 27, 2014

Biking is dangerous, DON'T forget it for a second on the road!!

I pass cyclists all the time, some with helmets, some not, some yakking to the person next to them, some going way too fast down a hill, most if not all believing accidents happen to the other guy. Well that is simply not true.

A friend of mine who has been biking in all environments for over 40 years got hit by a car. He got brushed across the front and he went over his handlebars and ended up with cracked ribs and much bruising. His helmet saved his head. He did not see the car, it came from around a corner and plowed into him. The driver never saw him.

So shit happens!!! and it can happen to the most skilled cyclist. I see large groups racing around roads not meant for pace lines or speeding bikes, yet they continue this reckless behavior saying, hey we know what we are doing, we are not beginners.

Well so was my friend, but accidents happen. You must be 100% alert on the road. If for one second you forget you are on a road with 2 ton cars and trucks whizzing by you, then stop biking.

I avoid group riding now, I need to concentrate 100% of the time on the road. Drivers are crazy, cellphone and texting have changed our safety on the roads. For those of you riding at ridiculous speeds in pace lines double across, keep in mind, your biking puts us all in danger as drivers see you taking over the road and their  hatred spills over to me, an old lady biking slowly, alone and way over. If I have a car stuck behind me, I do not hesitate to pull over, better safe than sorry.

Most A level riders think I am a fool. We are safe and smart they all say. Just remember, everything YOU DO affects all the other cyclists out there. Your behavior impacts me.

I want to recommend all cyclists consider getting top flight bike lights and not the cheap blinkie lights.
You want 300-400 lumens and you want to be seen.

Here is a video of my lights and next time you are out on the road, biking across the yellow line, in pace lines 10-20 riders long, remember what you do on the road impacts the rest of us. Keep that in mind. PLEASE!!!! my bike lights

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pay it forward if you can

I was out on my first ride of the season, solo riding which I prefer. Nice day, enjoyable ride, and having fun. I came across a group of 3 men, one was on the phone and the other two told me he had put two tubes in his tire and blew both as soon as they took off.

I knew the problem as we ALL have had this problem. We forget to check the tire for glass, metal or some pointy object. We took off his tire and I found the metal piece quickly. Lucky I had extra tubes and CO2 and was able to help get this tire back on and get the rider on his way.

I often wonder as I pass riders on the road, do they have a tube and an inflation system that they can actually use if need be?

I told the fellow whom I helped with my supplies that he was now obligated to pay it forward and help the next guy he sees stranded on the side of the road.

But if you are reading this and just home from a great ride, go out to your bike and pull off your little supply bag. It should have 2 tubes, 3 or 4 CO2 cartridges, and a tire lever that can actually do the job.

Practice changing a tire at home, do it in your yard standing up as that is how you have to do it on the road. Use whatever inflation system you have and practice with it. If you only carry a small pump make sure you can inflate the tire to a good pressure.

Pictured are my bag and supplies. I have plenty of C02, two tubes in plastic bags to protect them from punctures, a Pedro tire lever, big and strong, tools and some extra washers and screws for my shoe cleats. This all fits into my rather small useful bag. Also suggest buying your CO2 online, way cheaper than what they charge in bike stores.

ALWAYS carry a cell phone, and ID such as an expired driver's license. If you are biking with a friend or wife or hubby, make sure you EACH have a phone. You can get separated and then the phoneless spouse or friend is stuck. I have run across this scenario many times.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not Copenhagen but a very ambitious effort in Pennsylvania, hats off to the Chester County Commissioners

Chester County, located west of Philadelphia by about 30 miles, has recently completed a 24 year effort to build a multi-use trail running from Exton, Pa to King of Prussia Pa. The trail was dreamed about in 1990 and finally in 2014 it is almost a reality.

For those living in areas that are not congested and hampered by many obstacles such as numerous culverts, overpasses to be built, highways, housing, industrial parks and the list goes on have no concept at how amazing this project was and IS!

The Chester Valley Trail will ultimately connect Exton, PA to Philadelphia PA once the last portion in Mongtomery County is completed. The Montgomery County portion will traverse one of the most congested shopping areas on the East Coast. To imagine a bike trail through this area is almost unbelievable. To see this effort in my county makes me proud to live here.

It is one thing to build a trail along an underdeveloped railroad bed but to put this trail right alongside a huge highway and areas of intense population is nothing short of a miracle. The final portion will go over the Schuylkill Expressway and wind its way over the Schuylkill River in Norristown and meet up with the famous Schuylkill River Trail.

The final trail from Exton to the the famous Art Museum steps that Rocky ran up will be approximately 50 miles in one direction making the full circuit almost 100 miles of trail running through an area that is just not to be believed until you ride it.

Hats off to all who had a hand in the project. Many folks fought long and hard to oppose the trail but by  very hard work, Chester County Commissioners hung in there and got the project completed. 9/11 almost killed the project as companies along the route feared terrorists using the trail.

But I want to extend a huge thank you to all involved.