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ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress: I Support Bicycling and Walking

April 24, 2015
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From our friends at the League of American Bicyclists:

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Last week, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said they are “nearly done” drafting the transportation bill.  This is our BEST chance to get the Transportation Alternatives Program we want in the bill. Please ask your Senators to co-sponsor the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act. Adding their name to the bill will tell Chairman Inhofe and Ranking Member Boxer know there is broad support for a robust program to fund bike lanes, trails, sidewalks  and bike share.We need your help to make sure that Congress doesn’t cut funding to help local communities build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, trails and more. Please ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor S. 705, The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act.The Transportation Alternatives Program provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year to local communities to invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. It’s the only federal program specifically focused on local transportation priorities. S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, written by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), makes changes to the program to  make it more effective and easier for local governments to use.

For decades, our federal transportation system has focused the bulk of its resources on building roads, leaving many of our communities with few transportation options and rising safety risks for people bicycling and walking. More and more Americans want options for bicycling, walking and transit to live healthier and safer lives. More and more cities and towns are clamoring for more facilities for biking and walking to make their communities more attractive to residents and to improve their economies. S. 705 would help make sure that Congress continues to invest a small share of federal transportation dollars in these types of projects.

Ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, to ensure that our federal transportation system continues to provide funding for bicycling and walking.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/0IMcc15-KgiaOdORR1Gfsw

Ridden & Reviewed: Mini Pump Shootout

April 15, 2015

As the saying goes, when talking about repairing roadside punctures there are two kinds of people in this world: CO2 people and pump people.

For years I was a pump person. Specifically a frame pump person, as I am old enough to remember when such devices were ubiquitous in that mini pumps were truly worthless and CO2 inflators weren’t entirely reliable and the cartridges seemingly weren’t as readily available.

Fast forward to the 90’s and beyond and I had converted. I had abandoned the Zefal and Silica (with Campagnolo head) frame pumps of my youth for the ease and speed of CO2 inflators. No more exhaustion just to reach 65 psi on a road tire and tube set-up needing at least 90 psi. No more breaking valve stems with an accidental change in the angle of the frame pump. I was new. Modern. Reborn.

Then a few years ago I was on a ride with a local hero. A former collegiate racer and domestic pro. He was riding what was then a current year S Works road bike and had done what one might think of as impossible: attached a frame pump to his superbike. As we gorged on mid-ride tacos I asked him, “why the frame pump?”

The answer was surprising, yet reassuring. “Yes, a CO2 would be faster, but really, how long does it take with a modern frame pump to inflate a tube well enough to finish your ride? Plus, I never run out of air. And, it’s pretty environmentally friendly when you stop and think about it.”

I did. And I set about to find a solid portable pump.

Both the Road Drive from Lezyne and the PRO Touring Mini Pump offer nice features and reliability.

Both the Road Drive from Lezyne and the PRO Touring Mini Pump offer nice features and reliability.

I settled on a modern take on the classic Zefal-style frame pump and it was fine. Especially on my Independent Fabrication, which has a round, nearly horizontal top tube as well as a pump peg on the back of the headtube. And on what was then my decidedly not S Works level Tarmac, it worked fairly well provided it was secured with a pump strap. And while I thought about the wise words of the more experienced rider, I still wasn’t entirely sold.

Then I traveled to Vegas.

In a hotel room the afternoon of CrossVegas I was wanting to fiddle with my tire pressure. Of course, I hadn’t traveled with a pump and despite the fact that Interbike was down the sidewalk, I didn’t really want to traverse the show floor demoing pumps. My roommate, being ever prepared, had a pump: the Lezyne Road Drive.

With one use I knew this was my new pump. The rattling knocks of the frame pump would be gone. The Road Drive fit nicely in my center jersey pocket along with a tire lever and two tubes. The aluminum construction and rubber o-ring seals holding the handle to the shaft when not in use felt quality. And the hidden hose with a pump head that threaded on to the valve stem sealed the deal. The fact that there was that flexibility significantly decreased the chance of accidentally ripping a valve out of a tube during inflation. This was my pump. Well, it was my roommate’s, but I was going to get one just like it.

And I did. And I’ve used it for years now with no issues. Yes, it’s not as fast as a CO2 canister. But good things come to those who wait. Besides, with thousands of miles ridden and numerous punctures, I’m sure the Road Drive has more than paid for itself when measured against the cost of countless CO2 cartridges (there hadn’t yet been a buy 1, get 1 free Spring Sale Deal of the Day on those).

Then Kelly in the buyers’ office turned me onto something. A new mini pump. Slightly shorter and lighter weight, it sports a larger circumference barrel and seemingly pushes more air than my beloved Road Drive. It also has a slick magnetic “lock” to hold the pump closed when not in use. And it too fits nicely in a jersey pocket with a few other trusty items. It’s the Touring Mini Pump from Shimano house brand PRO.

Could the PRO Touring Mini Pump be my new pump of choice? At $19.99 it's hard to beat.

Could the PRO Touring Mini Pump be my new pump of choice? At $19.99 it’s hard to beat.

Aside from being “pro” (I mean, it says so right on the thing) it also has another great feature: price. While my Road Drive sells for $44.99, the Pro Touring Mini Pump is shockingly less at $19.99. No it’s not constructed of aluminum. No it doesn’t have the fancy little hose mechanism. But it pushes air as well–or dare I say better–than my Road Drive. “Ten-ish” fewer strokes to 90 psi with the Pro Tourning Mini when tested against the Road Drive in wholly unscientific testing.

Do I still love the Road Drive. Yes. Undoubtedly. It has style for miles and works well. The hose feature is great. But for $20, the Pro Touring Mini isn’t just blowing hot air. Plus, I hear it’s on sale at Spring Sale.

Nothing against you CO2 folks. I like you. I really do. But for those of you considering making the switch, or just in need of a new pump, these two fit the bill nicely.

ACTION ALERT: Contact your TX House Representative RIGHT NOW by phone and/or email and ask them to vote NO.

March 31, 2015

 

 

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Rep. Bryan Hughes will offer an amendment today that is hostile to bicyclingContact your rep now and ask him or her to oppose Rep. Hughes’ amendment to Article 7Rep. Bryan Hughes is proposing an amendment today that could hobble Texas’ ability to provide safe roads for bicycling for decades to come. The amendment would prevent any state or federal funds from being used to reduce excess motor vehicle lanes for use as bicycle lanes or bus lanes. If passed, no state or federal funds, even those given to local areas as grants, could ever be used in this manner.

Please contact your Texas House Representative RIGHT NOW by phone and/or emailAsk that he or she vote NO. Also, ask him or her to speak out against Rep. Hughes’ amendment to Article 7. (Don’t know who your rep is? Find out here.) You can use any or all of the talking points below:

  • This amendment is dangerous and will cost lives.
  • Engineers routinely determine that there will not be significant impact to motor vehicle traffic before changing a roadway.
  • Lane conversions create safer spaces for people walking, biking, and driving, reducing roadway injuries and fatalities.
  • Transportation engineers in a local community need to be able to exercise their own professional judgement to determine the best solution to local traffic situations.
  • The FHWA-approved lane conversions are proven to be effective at improving safety.
  • [Name a local road in your area] is unsafe to bike or walk on. This amendment would make it very difficult to make this road a safe place for me and my family.

Be sure to include your name, address, and occupation. Thank you for making Texas a great place to bike and walk!

ACTION ALERT: Ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act

March 27, 2015

From the good folks at the League of American Bicyclists.

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Congress is preparing to take action on a new federal transportation bill.  Given the shortfall of federal transportation dollars, some members of Congress are already questioning why the federal government provides any funding for bicycling and walking.

We need your help to make sure that Congress doesn’t cut funding to help local communities build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, trails and more. Please Ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor S. 705, The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act.

The Transportation Alternatives Program provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year to local communities to invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. It’s the only federal program specifically focused on local transportation priorities. S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, written by Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), makes changes to the program to  make it more effective and easier for local governments to use.

For decades, our federal transportation system has focused the bulk of its resources on building roads, leaving many of our communities with few transportation options and rising safety risks for people bicycling and walking. More and more Americans want options for bicycling, walking and transit to live healthier and safer lives. More and more cities and towns are clamoring for more facilities for biking and walking to make their communities more attractive to residents and to improve their economies. S. 705 would help make sure that Congress continues to invest a small share of federal transportation dollars in these types of projects.

Ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 705, the Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act, to ensure that our federal transportation system continues to provide funding for bicycling and walking.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/bikeleague/J8GPM2MyG.aspx

ACTION ALERT! Ask your Representative to support the Lipinski Amendment to standardize bicycle roll-on service at Amtrak stations.

March 3, 2015

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From the good folks at the League of American Bicyclists:

TODAY the U.S. House of Representatives is voting on an amendment to standardize roll-on service for bicycles, wheelchairs and other devices used for transportation by people with disabilities.

Please act now: Ask your Representative to support the Lipinski Amendment to standardize bicycle roll-on service at Amtrak stations.

Demand for multi-modal transportation options, including the increasingly popular combination of bikes with buses and trains, is growing across the country. Currently, only a handful of Amtrak stations and train services allow convenient roll-on access, and where they do, the service is popular and well-used. The Lipinski Amendment would require Amtrak to report to Congress on what standardized roll-on service would look like and what it would take to get there.

A number of bicycling organizations have been working with Amtrak to improve roll on service. Offering the service will make Amtrak more accessible, increase ridership and give riders more transportation options once they get to their destination.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:

https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/bikeleague/JQPMgNGcc.aspx

Ridden & Reviewed: TiGr Locks Take a Bite Out of Bike Theft

February 4, 2015

 

The TiGr Lock is an interesting solution to the question of, “how can I carry a reliable lock while riding?”

 

The TiGr strapped to my Domane Classics Edition.

The TiGr strapped to a road bike.

The folks behind the TiGr Lock, the family-owned Stanton Concepts, LLC, are in the business of making security devices. They hold a number of patents on various locking mechanisms and sought to create a bicycle lock that was as elegant as the bicycle itself. Constructed of titanium and made right here in the USA, the TiGr Lock is a bow lock that offers simple yet sturdy security.

The TiGr Lock comes in two security sizes and three lengths. The width of the bow determines how secure the body of the lock is. The 075 wide bow TiGr Lock is the smaller size and is perfect for quick trips into the store or coffee shop. The wider 125 bow on the TiGr Lock offers added security by being heavier duty and is great for commutes to work or school.

The length of the bow determines how versatile the lock is. Want to lock your bike and wheels with one device or want to be able to lock the entire family’s bike at the park? Get the long option. Simply locking your bike on the fly as you run errands? The short option is a good bet. The standard length is the best of both worlds, allowing some ability to lock a front wheel along with the bike or a couple of bikes together while remaining a small enough package to easily manage.

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The TiGr Locks are all wrapped in rubberized coating and have small rubber bumpers along the length of the bow so you don’t have to worry about damaging your bike’s finish.

So how does it work?

In the open position it wraps around your bike’s headtube or seattube and secures to the top tube by way of included velcro straps, similar to those used to add security to a full-size frame pump. The lock core simply goes in a pocket or bag and you’re off with your lock. Arive at your destination and use the TiGr Lock’s bow shape to secure your bicycle to a rack or other solid object and the locking core closes the bow with a spinning cylinder lock. The lock mechanism is particularly innovative in that the shape of it and the fact that it rotates means it’s hard to get a tool that might be used to try to break the lock on or around it.

 

Mounting the lock to the bike takes a bit of hand eye coordination. I only got a couple rides with it so I fumbled about a little bit with the Velcro straps. With practice, I’m sure it’s a simple task. You also want to make sure the straps are tight as you don’t want the lock to slip off the frame and dangle from the straps. For the type of riding around town I do—mostly just to coffee shops and the like—the smallest TiGr Lock simply tossed in a bag would be my method of use.

The use of titanium means the TiGr Lock is not only light making it easier to transport, but also secure. How secure? TiGr Lock’s manufacturers sent their locks to Europe for testing because there are no independent bike lock testing labs in the US. The ART® Foundation in The Netherlands performed the testing and their certification standard includes 5 levels. Levels 1 to 3 are recommended for bicycles.

For the TiGr Locks, the ART testing results were that the 075 TiGr Lock meets or exceeds most certification standards and the 125 TiGr Lock meets or exceeds all certification standards for a level 2 ART Rating. The 125 TiGr Lock is the lightest lock with a level 2 (or higher) rating in the u-lock, chain, and folding categories and are the only locks with a level 2 or higher rating that are able to capture both wheels on most bikes without removing a wheel or the need to add a second security device like a cable.

The TiGr Lock is a great option for folks looking for a reliable lock that offers it’s own transport method in a lightweight design.

Get Informed and Make 2015 Your Year of Cycling Advocacy!

January 22, 2015

Our friends at the League of American Bicyclists are on the ball. It’s never too early to start thinking about the National Bike Summit and pending legislative action that can have serious consequences for walking and cycling infrastructure.


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Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.
— President Obama during the State of the Union

It’s a good line that got a lot of applause at the State of the Union, but like everything else, the devil is in the details. And members of Congress need to hear from YOU. 

On May 31, the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money and the current federal transportation bill expires. It’s a topic that’s heating up in Washington, but we already know several things.

  • The likelihood Congress will have a new bill or a long-term funding solution by May 31st is looking slim.
  • But that looming deadline will trigger debate and a potential vote on funding for biking and walking projects in the next transportation bill.
  • We’ve heard from U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx: “What people are viewing as this cute, cuddly bike and pedestrian movement could be a real game-changer.”
  • Republican leaders in the House and the Senate are adamant about getting a bill this year.
  • So the opportunity to weigh in to this critical conversation is now.

The National Bike Summit is our chance to do just that – to educate new members of Congress, and show the strength and commitment of the bicycling community for a strong bipartisan infrastructure plan that fits the needs of the 21st Century. We’ll need a strong showing to ensure the next transportation bill protects and promotes bicycle-friendly policies and funding.

Leaders on Capitol Hill need to hear from YOU – so please join us at the Summit, March 10-12, here in Washington, D.C. 

Right now, we’re working with our allies on the Hill to make sure we have a powerful set of asks when you meet with your members of Congress. In 2014, we helped secure a national goal to reduce bicycle and pedestrian fatalities; in 2015, we’ll be building on that win to continue to enhance street safety for all. We’ll be promoting connected transportation networks so all communities can travel safely and efficiently to work, school and healthcare, and working to improve key federal programs that help to fund better biking in your community.

Like President Obama and Congressional leaders, we believe that a smart infrastructure plan is critical to building the economy and making our nation stronger. Help us ensure that vision includes better bicycling. Register for the Summit by January 31 for early-bird rates. 

See you in March!

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