Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bike Safety Education in Hartford - Ready for Spring!

Last week I had my bike in the basement to wipe off the salt crust and install much needed fenders.  Despite year round commuting, I'll be welcoming Spring with open arms.  Riding on the ice and snow is an exciting challenge.  My bicycle is as reliable as I need it to be.  Unlike a car, I can pick it up rather and carry it over snow banks.  The extra resistance of knobby, studded tires helps keep off the winter weight while the sunshine (what little there is) keeps my spirits up.  With all the things I enjoy about winter riding, I can't wait for my favorite off road shortcuts to open back up.  I yearn for the days when it is warm enough that I don't have to plan and layer clothing for the trip.  Can I get an amen?

This was a new one.  My first traffic jam / broken down vehicle issue.
As others prepare to get their lonely bicycles out of storage, we are announcing a timely bicycle skills and safety training course in Hartford.  Traffic Skills 101 will be offered on Sunday, April 12th.  The course is partnered with Bike Walk Connecticut and will train 15-20 cyclists in critical skills that will keep them safer on the road.  This is a comprehensive full day course that includes classroom time, Q&A, basic bike mechanics, parking lot drills, and an on-road ride.  The class has sold out every time and we only hold a couple each year.  Register early and save the date.

TRAFFIC SKILLS 101 - Hartford
WHEN:  Sunday, April 12, 2015, 7:45 am to 5 pm
WHERE:   Thomas W Raftery, 1055 Broad Street, Hartford (corner of Broad and Jefferson). 
COST:  Bike Walk CT members:  $50; Nonmembers:  $65
INSTRUCTORS:  Tony Cherolis and Rob O'Connor, both League Certified Instructors (LCIs)

Community Discount for Hartford Residents.  The instructors are offering two spots in this TS101 course (first come, first served) at $20 to Hartford residents, self-declared limited income.  The intent of the discounted registration is to spread bike education beyond those that can afford a $50 or $65 course.  Hartford is a city with a large number of folks getting by working a lot of hours, for not much pay.  A significant number of Hartford residents don't choose their bicycle for transportation.  A bicycle just happens to be one of the most cost effective ways to get around.  For someone on a limited income $20 could be manageable.  We're also open to any companies and organizations that would like to donate funds to sponsor community attendees.  Send me an email @or call (860-204-2704), if you are interested in the Community Member discounted registration.

The TS101 course is a prerequisite for taking a much more intensive multi-day course for League Cycling Instructors.  The Hartford TS101 is your last chance to fulfill the prerequisite requirement before taking the instructor weekend long seminar in Simsbury the following weekend.  The LCI course is very intense and only recommended to serious participants that want to go on and continue teaching.  You can register online for this course, but you'll have to prove that you've completed (or you're registered) for the TS101 course.  You also have to pass both TS101 and the LCI course to become a certified instructor.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It Appears that Winter is Here - Let there be Sleds

Winter is Connecticut has arrived.  That said, so what?  It happens every year and doesn't take that much ingenuity and gusto to figure it out, make due, and even enjoy the Hell out of it.  One way 'the royal we' has learned to enjoy winter is bicycle commuting year round.  The frigid temperatures, varied conditions, ice, and snow give us something to push against in this world of depressing ease and leisure.  We highly recommend it.

Bikes work on snow too.  Amazing!
In the interest of spreading camaraderie and cheer during the S.A.D. months we (not just the royal) meet up for breakfast and unbridled smugness.  It's called IceBike to Work, but you don't have to be on the way to work, or even on a bike for that matter.  Try walking, taking the bus, car pooling and come hang out with us.  Those interested in winter cycling that just want tips, they are most welcome too.  Actually, everyone is welcome.  But smugness does require some level of commitment.  The Committee doesn't hand that out for nothing.

Friday, February 13th is actually an international holiday recognizing the smugness of winter bike commuters.  While eating your eggs and toast you can contemplate that in cities like Boston and Chicago the smugness is much harder to find.  Winter bike commuting isn't uncommon there.  Where do they get their smug?

Two IceBike to Work Locations 
Friday, February 13th
  • East Hartford, Maddie's on Main Street, right across from P&W.  6:45am-8:30am.
  • Downtown Hartford, Ashley's on Main Street just south of downtown, next to Hook and Ladder restaurant.  7AM-8:30AM
  • Heads up - Both of these venues are cash only.  Bring your frozen greenbacks.

Give it a try and spread the word.  If you have experience skiing the clothing is very similar.  Get some lights and consider studded tires if you're going to ride on icy days.  The key to overweening smugness is within your reach.  Reach out and grab it!

Art Sled Derby
Saturday, February 14th
Elizabeth Park Hartford Overlook
Lining up at 11AM

The Art Sled Derby is not related to bicycles - although we will be attempting to transport several  unwieldy monster art sleds via bicycle trailer.  Build a sled or just show up to cheer and laugh.  No pre-registration required.  Just show up. There will be fantastic sleds and even more fantastic crashes.  I've included a couple photos of my entries from 2013 (A Lazy Boy) and 2014 (Bouncing Baby Buggy).  Our 2015 sled is a team entry by TEAM TROUBLE including contributions by the veteran Beat Bike Blogger Ken K and his lovely, mischievous wife.  It's f'ing ridiculous!
2013.  Didn't die. (Photo credit - Steven Yau)
2014. Also didn't die.  2015 - TBD. (Photo credit - Steven Yau)
If you're still reading, you really have a problem.  Rather than read my blog, you should put in some thoughtful bike, walk, or transit comments on the Hartford I-84 redesign.  They are looking for public comments, and the opportunity for this design phase ends February 20th.  If you don't make your voice heard early on large infrastructure projects, you'll be dead before they design it again. (COMMENT HERE!)

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