Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Time Bike to Work Commuter Contest

First time bike to work commuters!

Did you ride your bike to work for the first time this May?
If so, enter your name into the First Time Bike to Work Commuter Contest to win a Bontrager Back Rack at IowaGoesByBicycle.com.

The Iowa Goes By Bicycle Challenge wants to make it easier for you to commute by bicycle. Thanks for taking part in Bike to Work Month.

Hooked on going by bicycle to work? Good luck becoming a regular bike commuter!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Six Tips for Biking to Work

1. Tune up your bicycle.
If you can't make it into your local bike shop, do the ABC Quick Check. Make sure your chain and components are well lubed too.
Air Pressure: are you tires properly inflated?
Brakes: are they both working?
Chain and Crank: can you pedal smoothly? Are there any squeaks?
Quick releases: are they securely closed and tight?
Check: is there anything loose or rattling?

2. Wear a helmet.
If you don't own one, buy one.

3. Select the best route. Plan ahead of time using a local area trails map or check out Google's bicycling directions.

4. Dress for bicycling success!
Leave a little bit earlier, take your time, and enjoy your ride. This will keep you from sweating as much, but a little extra glow never hurt. Consider bringing a change of clothes and freshening up at work. Generally you will continue to sweat ten minutes after getting off the bike. Leave yourself 15 minutes to cool down before starting your day. Take advantage of shower facilities if they are available. Roll your clothes instead of folding them if you are taking them in a backpack or pannier. Put together a small toiletry bag of things you'll need to freshen up after your energizing commute.

5. Obey the laws of the road and be courteous to pedestrians, motorists and other bicyclists.

Have fun whisking away tension that comes from an occasional stressful workday on your bicycle commute home!

Bike to Work Week Works

Sarah Torgeson - My Bike is My New Hobby

Sarah talks to Iowa Goes By Bicycle about some of her experiences as a new cyclist and also offers advise to people who are just getting started as well.

For many of us when we started bicycling, we weren’t actively seeking it out as a serious new lifestyle. Maybe we tried it on a whim and were captivated by the freedom and fun. Maybe we were just filling a sunny summer afternoon when all of a sudden a surprising thought hit us: “Hey, I could really get into this.” Whatever it was, it didn’t take much to fall in love with that two-wheeled machine. In the same way, 28-year-old Sarah Torgeson was unexpectedly lured into cycling herself. One mile in the saddle, and she was hooked.

Read the full story at: http://www.iowagoesbybicycle.com/?q=node/74

Heres and excerpt from the interview.

IGBB: What got you interested in biking again?

Torgeson: My grandparents rode RAGBRAI a few times, into their 70s, which was amazing to me, and a few people at my work are avid cyclists who have also ridden RAGBRAI. I started riding for Bike To Work Week in 2009 and 2010, and my boyfriend is big into cycling. [W]hen we started dating, I started riding more. We also are part of North Iowa Bicycle Underground (NIBU) which does a lot of cycling events: bike polo, races, etc. It's become an exciting part of my life!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If Now is the Time, This is the Place

May is national bike month. If now is the time to try bicycling, Iowa City is the place. With gasoline pushing $4 a gallon, it seems like a no-brainer. Two-thirds of all car trips are less than one mile. Especially if you count looking for parking and other annoyances, biking can get you there faster and easier. Try it several times a week and you’ll see the savings in trips to the pump will begin to add-up.

Need another reason to try biking? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 75 percent of us don’t get enough exercise. The fuel for bicycling is the inexhaustible supply we carry around on our midriff that we seem to renew with ease. Biking just a few miles burns about 100 calories of energy. Revving up your internal engine that way will decrease your waistline and improve your health. Additionally, bicycling offers an inexpensive, family-friendly activity.

If now is the time, Iowa City is one of the best places to do it. Two years ago, the League of American Bicyclist, the national bike advocacy organization, recognized Iowa City as a “Bike Friendly Community.” According to the US Census, Iowa Citians bicycle for transportation at twice the national average.

Iowa City has many amenities that make biking around town do-able, including streets with bike-friendly street markings (sharrows) and Share the Road signs. There’s ample bike parking; a link on the website Think Bicycles (www.thinkbicycles.org) will help you get to your destination, and we have more than 80 miles of bike trails, too.

In May, area cyclists have organized a host of events to encourage bicycling.

If you need a bike to get started, check out the Iowa City Bike Library (www.bikelibrary.org). A small deposit will get you a reconditioned, mechanic-checked set of wheels for up to six months. If you like it, forgo the deposit (it’ll go to buy parts to recondition additional bikes) and keep the bike. A half-dozen locally owned bike shops sell new and used bikes.

If you would like some training in safe biking, Bicyclist of Iowa City (BIC) hosts five rides a week for riders of all abilities. You don’t have to be a member to ride (though bike helmets are required). The Thursday evening leisure rides are geared for beginners and families with an emphasis on safe riding. There are faster-paced rides, long rides, and rides to area weekend events. Check the BIC web-site (www.bicyclistsofiowacity.org) or the Press Citizen Thursday GO section for start times and locations.

In May, the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, the statewide bike advocacy group, will tip-off a six-month challenge to recruit 1,000 new bicyclists. The Iowa Goes by Bike Challenge (www.iowagoesbybicycle.com) invites new riders to sign-up and receive tips on biking as well as an opportunity to win prizes for completing the challenge. What a fun way to get into the biking groove. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant number of new bikers riding around the area.

Beginning this Wednesday, May 4th, at Horn Elementary School, is the first of six bike rodeos at local schools sponsored by BIC and the AAA Auto Club. Bike rodeos are skill and safety education events geared toward kids 12 and under. University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Safety Store will sell bike helmets at a modest price, too. For dates and times of the bike rodeos check the Think Bicycles web site (www.thinkbicycles.org).

Bike to Work Week in Iowa City is May 15-21. Look for the posters around town, or click on the Bike to Work Week logo at the Think Bicycles web site. The week is chock full of special events and participants have an opportunity to win some great prizes donated by area businesses and groups. One of the featured events is the Mayor’s Ride from the New Pioneer Coop in Iowa City to the New Pioneer Coop in Coralville. On Wednesday, May 18, the ride leaves at 5:30 PM from Chauncey Swan Park across the street from the Iowa City Civic Center and New Pioneer Coop. Our destination is the Coralville Coop, where we’ll enjoy a picnic (courtesy of the New Pioneer), listen to music and win prizes at the raffle.

With all the options available, now is the time and Iowa City is the place to become a bicyclist.

Bob Oppliger (boboppliger@msn.com) is Education and Advocacy Coordinator for the Bicyclist of Iowa City.