Marcie Madsen, biking subchair
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The Narragansett Chapter offers bike rides at several levels within the diversity of Rhode Island and outlying areas. Within the catagories of "Easy Riders" rides and "Intermediate" rides, we hope to give all that want to ride with us, some rides that they can relax on, and some faster rides that riders can get some good exercise on. We welcome first time riders, both active members and prospective members. We do not require you to be a member of the AMC to join our rides.
Our rides are listed in the Gansett Gazette and on the AMC Chapter database. All of our rides require the participant to call the leader or coleader to find out the starting time and location. If the leader does not know the rider personally, they will probably ask them about their experience. All of our rides require the rider to sign a waiver agreement. Most of our weekend rides start in the middle morning and end in the middle afternoon. Riders usually bring a lunch or snack for a lunch break. Weekend rides range from easy 10 miles, to 30+ mile rides. Our midweek rides begin late in the afternoon, allowing for riders coming from work, and end before sunset. The length of the midweek rides is based on the amount of daylight available. On the many flat and traffic free bike paths we sometimes extend our rides into the dark and enjoy a quiet evening ride. Many of our rides end on a social note, which could include indulging in ice cream, or heading out for pizza.
We offer free clinics for those who wish to learn the basics of bicycle maintenance. During the ride the leader will have access to tools to fix any flats or minor adjustments that might impair the safety or comfort of the rider. A map of the route is usually provided for the participants on our weekend rides, especially if the route is complicated. We do not let the riders string out, but have frequent 'stop and regroup' breaks to let the slower riders catch up. To keep riders from getting lost, a sweep is always on the ride to keep the last riders company and help any rider that might have mechanical problems.
Rhode Island has a wonderful network of roads, typical of New England, that includes a network of stiff rolling hills in the north and western sections, and fairly flat roads in the south and eastern part of the Rhode Island and Massachusetts (yes, we sneak into Massachusetts sometimes). Coastal rides in the summer are especially pleasant, and on hot days beaches which have resident only parking restrictions, are fair game for riders (ie. bikes are free) who remember to bring their towels.
Helmets are mandatory for all rides. Gloves and mirrors are recommended.
Easy Rider Rides -- The riders should have a bike that is suitable for the ride. A rusty 3-speed with 20 year old tires just isn't going to do it. (See our biking resources pages for information.) The rider should carry a spare tube that fits their bike in case of a flat. A means of carrying lunch and water should be available, which means as little as a wire handlebar basket or a small backpack. If the ride is to possibly extend into the evening hours, the bike should have adequate reflectors and flashers attached. It is also wise to carry a bike light in this situation. The rider should carry proper personal identification. The rider should be able to ride at least 10-15 miles and maintain a average pace of 6-8 mph. The actually difficulty of the ride will depend on a large extent on the hills on the route.
Intermediate Rides -- In addition to all the items required for the Easy Rider rides, the rider must be able to average a 12 mph pace over 25-35 miles. Again hills will add to the difficulty of the ride. We do not have advanced rides because we do not ride competitively, but the leader will tell you if they condsider their ride 'relaxed' intermediate or 'fast' intermediate. The bike should be a multispeed road bike with suitable gearing for hills, which usually means a triple chain ring gearing. (ie. 18-27 speed gearing) The speed of the rides usually rule out mountain bikes unless they have narrower "slicks" for tires.
Inside the Cycleplex: The Weird, Wild World of Google Bikes -- (new) Google has the largest collection of private general use bikes anywhere. On their campus they have about 1,300 bikes, of which about 700 are in use every day all around the expansive Google Campus in Mountain View, California. No deposit required, no tracking, just borrow one and ride to your next destination. Read more in this Wired.com article.
Bike Lawyer -- (new) Steve Magas, The Bike Lawyer, has been protecting the rights of riders for more than 25 years. Steve has handled more than 200 "bike cases". His web site is interesting reading, including an article on "'Share the Road Stinks'...", and a legal observations on bike accidents. He has created a "Crash App" a smartphone application for accident reporting and recording. While the legal stuff relates to Ohio Law, the Crash App can be used to record data from any crash, anyplace. Read more on his website.
"JUST RIDE" -- (new) by Grant Petersen, the founder and owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works -- and a bicycling freethinker of some repute -- has a new book out from Workman Publishing titled "JUST RIDE: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike". Frustrated by the ever-fancier bells and whistles and spandex streaming down bike lanes across America, Grant calls for a no-nonsense approach to our beloved pastime. Read more in this book review...
New York City Bike Sharing Program This summer, New York City will launch a bike sharing program featuring 10,000 new public bicycles at 600 bike sharing stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Read about it in two related articles. One about the $42 investment by Citibike, the other about where the bikes will go.
Top 10 most bikeable U.S. cities -- > Walk Score, the company that has revolutionized the real estate industry by attaching a value to a place by how well you can get to everyday amenities by walking or transit, has released a new measurement for car-free urban living. Providence did not make the top 10 in this article. But Boston is rated number 4. For the complete rating system see this article.
Wheels of Change, Mountain Biking -- A growing number of Americans are hopping on mountain bikes as a way to connect with the natural world. But do knobby tires belong on national park trails? An article from the National Parks And Conservation Association about trends and problems that are being considered as the sport becomes more and more popular.
Bike Overnight -- So you want to do a bikeovernight? Great! Where are you going and what route will you take? Bikeovernights.org provides inspiration, resources, and tools for short bicycle tours (1-2 nights). You'll find stories, tips, and how-tos about embarking on short overnight cycling adventures, whether you're traveling to a beautiful state park solo, lounging at a B&B with friends and family, or anything in between!
A few trends in biking from the world of tomorrow. -- Because you can't buy them yet. How about making your own bike lane at night? Maybe... but a couple of super bright tail lights might be better. Or how about a set of wheels that light up when moving? A Carnegie Mellon University industrial design student project called Project Aura, which you can watch the video here. Going shopping and need a cart? The answer is here, that is Taiwan, but the idea is interesting. Think of what a show stopper it would be at your local market.
Law passed related to Charlestown death in 2007 -- Chapter 31-15 of the General Laws entitled "Passing, Use of Lanes, and Rules of the Road" was amended as a result of the death of Frank J. Cabral in Sept. 2007. The law specifically states "(c) Violations of this section are subject to the fine enumerated in section 31-41.1-4." "31-15-18 Unsafe passing of person operating a bicycle $85.00". Although "reckless conduct", death resulting, is still left to the courts to decide.
Cycling in Rhode Island -- The RI DOT newsletter with biking news. Mostly related to Rhode Island but including other national news that also applies to riders in RI. Sent by the RI Department of Transportation. Sign up for the monthly newsletter here. For other RI biking related news, see the updated DOT biking web site.
Local Resident and Warren Police Remind Bicyclists of Bike Path Safety -- As summer progresses, more and more people grab their bikes and head out to utilize the East Bay Bike Path. But with safety in mind, a local resident recently voiced his concerns about bicyclists not adhering to stop signs on the path at intersections, creating hazards for cyclists and drivers. Read more in this article.
Rumble Strips Awry -- The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently issued a new Technical Advisory (TA) on rumble strip applications. It's terrible on two counts. And, bicyclists are fighting hard in the U.S. Congress to retain dedicated funding for bicycle facility investment. Read more in this article. See an update article which shows promise that original guidelines will be changed to favor bicycles more.
What would happen under Rhode Island Laws? -- We know that it can be hazardous riding in parts of the U.S., and there are stories about cyclists being hit by cars, but this report in a Portland, OR website is an attention getter. Jan Morgan, an avid cyclist and bike store owner from Starkville, MS, was hit from behind and run over -- not once but twice! -- by a driver apparently on a cell phone. What do you think would happen in RI? Of course it has already happened, see below. Read the initial article here and a follow up article here.
Hub set to launch bike-share program -- Menino to sign deal worth nearly $6m today; 600 bikes, 61 stations to be ready by July. Residents and visitors taking quick trips in Boston will be able to rent bicycles from dozens of sidewalk kiosks, under an agreement expected to be signed today that will create a bike-sharing network inspired by those in Paris and Washington. Full article in Boston.com.
The YikeBike -- What? Another electic bicycle design to revolutionize the world of transportation. Not quite, but really clever design, that looks especially fun. Not sure about potholes and the price is a little steep. But then all carbon fiber bikes tend to be expensive. Check out the www.yikebike.com site or an article by the New York Times’s technology columnist, David Pogue.
Chainless Hungarian Developed Bicycle -- A new Hungarian developed chain-less bike debuts today in Padova, Italy. The bike has been developed by a team of designers at the Schwinn Csepel Zrt.. The bicycle, named the Stringbike, has a new driving system using steel wires instead of chains.
The Copenhagen Wheel -- Smart, responsive and elegant. The Copenhagen Wheel allows you to capture the energy dissipated while cycling and braking and save it for when you need a bit of a boost. It also maps pollution levels, traffic congestion, and road conditions in real-time. An MIT project that uses the iPhone to control gears, speed, etc. Watch a Youtube video, and guys, the girl in the black boots is the MIT grad student project leader. I'll admit the black boots are also elegant, but where did they get a white chain?
Bike and Go with Google Maps -- Google Maps as has added biking directions in the U.S. to Google Maps. The directions feature provides step-by-step, bike-specific routing suggestions – similar to the directions provided by our driving, walking, or public transit modes. There are still a few problems. The map code is: Dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only trail; light green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road; dotted green indicates roads without bike lanes but are more appropriate for biking, based on factors such as terrain, traffic, and intersections. For Providence they show the new iWay bridge lanes a biking route. As best, learn to read all maps with common sense and use your biking experience for guidance. Read the Google press release.
Around the World in '84 -- For all you over-achieving men, compare your adventures to riding a bike on a World tour, in 1884. Thomas Stevens wrote two volumes about his bike tour around the World. Copyright expired, so available many places. Here is a nice online reader for Vol 1 from From San Francisco to Teheran, and Vol 2 From Teheran To Yokohama. Use little flip book in upper right corner to changes pages. Download copies for off line viewing at Vol.1 and Vol. 2
Thelma and Doris? -- And for all you over-achieving women, did you ever do something adventurous when you were young? You have heard of Thelma and Louise, but how about Thelma and Doris? Two young women go on a bike trip in 1944. The Lure of the Open Road. Online journal written by Thelma Popp Jones in 2007.
America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities -- Wondering whether it's a good idea to ride your bike to work? Bicycling Magazine has put together a handy list of the top 50 bike friendly cities in the U.S. Boston is listed but Providence is not. Read the article in Bicycling Magazine. The same article has a list of Innovative Bicycle Facilities listed which is worth reading.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics -- Article shows what were the five of the most frequently reported fatal bike-vehicle accidents from 2004 through 2008. Read the article on what they were, and how the cyclist can avoid them.
It had to happen -- Last Labor Day weekend I was out on the Cape, and while loading my kayak after a day's paddle, I finally saw what I knew I would would eventually see. Talking on a cellphone while driving is pushing your accident risk up by a factor of 4. What is the risk factor on a bike?
Too cold to bike and would rather read? -- Check out the Bike Forums where you can find about anything about bicycles and associated gear. You will find Regional Discussions, Charity Events, Advocacy & Safety, Bicycle Mechanics, Commuting, Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets, and about 20+ other general topics. All kinds of questions and all kinds of answers. Will keep you entertained on snowy nights for a long time.
Report on Bicyclist Fatalities and Serious Injuries in New York City, 1996-2005 -- The Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation, Transportation, and Police issued a joint report (2 MB pdf) on bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries in New York City between 1996 and 2005. The report offers recommendations for motor vehicle drivers, bicyclists, and others, and outlines action steps the City will take to increase bicycling and improve safety. This is informative reading on staying safe on any urban roadway, including Providence, Cranston, etc.
A Bike Friendly Community, Twin Bridges, Montana -- Community effort makes one town bicycle touring friendly. The Twin Bridges Bicycle Campgound was created by the efforts of largely one man. There are many people that make bicycle touring a friendly experience, especially out West.
Bike-Sharing Program -- (Aug. 13, 2009) A commerical bike sharing program (BIXI) is in the works for Boston. This is similar to the one in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal system is WiFi operated, solar powered. For articles on BIXI and how the system works in Montreal, view their BIXI website. A 2011 update on the Montreal BIXI operation.
Need a faster bike? -- Technology catches up to the pedal power bicycle. Electric bikes failed in the retail market. Will jet powered bikes catch on? There are cute bikes and there are wild bikes to choose from.
Adventure Cycling Bike Bits -- Sign up for this text-only newsletter which features brief articles of interest to recreational cyclists, bicycle industry news, plus organization information.
A Field Guide to the New York City Bicyclist -- Not that Providence is NY, but here are the latest trends in Fashion & Style. Just for the bikers who need help on deciding their true biking image.
Family biking with the kids -- A Xtracycle adapted just for the kids.
Have cats and need bike panniers -- for commuting or short trips to the store? Now you can combine your passions with this article as a guide..
Darkness comes earlier in the Fall -- and you don't want to be caught on the road in the dark before you get home. Here is a nice instructional on being visible and staying safer at dusk and night.
Tired of an ordinary bicycle -- there is plenty of inspiration (build your own wooden bike) from Kevin Kelly on observations around the World. Bamboo bike updates.
For those getting older, or slower -- there is a solution. How about a gasoline (250mpg) powered bicycle for commuting? Sort of a do it yourself project as shown in this article by a gentleman from Phoenix, Arizona.
Cyclist Told He Shouldn’t be on the Road - By Police -- The cyclist was out for a ride on New Year’s day and returned through Providence. As he was heading past the State House he was almost hit by a police SUV, pulled over and "grilled". Do you know the bicycle laws in Rhode Island?
The biking community looses one of its greatest supporters and a most informative person. Sheldon Brown passed away this February, 2008. His web site is one of the largest, providing volumes of information about bicycles and biking.
Still, RI confounds bikepath logic. (The new bill was quietly withdrawn.) After 14 years Rhode Islanders never quite understood which side to use on the bikepaths. Two years ago a new bill was introduced to revise the Rhode Island State bike path rules so that they would be consistent with both Connecticut and Massachusetts when the new bike paths link up. The new laws were to take effect Summer of 2008 so that State bike paths would conform to normal instincts by directing all bike path users, whether they are biking, walking, skating or traveling by any other non-motorized means, to travel in the same direction on the right-side of the bike path, to pass to the left and to give appropriate warning to other users when passing, and travel at safe and appropriate speeds. (Read the press release) (Link for history of issue.)
CHARLESTOWN - A Warwick man was killed yesterday (Sept 4, 2007) afternoon while riding his bicycle along Route 1 south between Kings Factory Road and Posser Trail. The accident happened around 4 p.m. when a gray Buick Rendezvous sport-utility vehicle traveling south on Route 1 veered off the road into the shoulder, fatally striking Frank J. Cabral, 41, who had left a summer cottage he was staying at on Matunuck Beach Road to go for a bicycle ride. Cabral was riding in the same direction, on the shoulder of the road. www.projo.com State drops charge in fatal crash (December 19, 2007) ...opting not to pursue the charge of driving to endanger, death resulting, against Pamela J. Hurst, 59, of Westerly. “As she was merging back into the right travel lane, she got distracted and continued right into the breakdown lane,” ...“The only evidence of negligence against Ms. Hurst is that she was traveling at 60 miles per hour and driving [for just over a second] in the breakdown lane,” Healey said. “We found that this, clearly, could not be considered ‘reckless conduct’ under Rhode Island case law.” www.projo.com More info...
News Release 5/31/2007 - East Bay Bike Path turns 15 today -- The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced that 2007 will be a busy year for bike path development, beginning with the 15th anniversary of the dedication of the East Bay Bike Path today. RIDOT has built a network of more than 40 miles of bike paths across Rhode Island and looks forward to projects that will expand that network even further. (read the press release)
"The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked." -- Amy Webster