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Friday, February 24 2017 @ 10:37 AM UTC
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Divide and Conquer, by Rail and Trail

Bike Pathsimage
By Christine H. O'Toole - Special to The Washington Post

On the right: a deep, Swiss-style farm valley encircled by high peaks. On the left: sheer rock. Overhead: a sulfurous storm cloud. Behind us: the nearest town, six miles back. Up ahead: the gloomy entrance of the Big Savage tunnel. As we pedaled our way toward the Eastern Continental Divide from Maryland to Pennsylvania, there was only one choice: onward

Call it the trail cyclist's Tour de Chance. Jim and I had never biked this section of the Great Allegheny Passage, a laid-back rural path that climbs gently northwest through the Allegheny Mountains from Cumberland, Md. After cresting the divide (Chesapeake watershed to the east, Mississippi to the west) it dips into Pennsylvania's Somerset County. If we'd waited for a sunny stretch during this summer's soggy weather, we might never have made it. But luck was with us -- mostly.
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They Are Building Bicycle Superhighways in Copenhagen

Biking ElsewhereThis could be Baltimore:
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The truth about ‘Cash for Clunkers’

Biking ElsewhereBy Jeff Jacoby - Boston Globe

Q: CONGRESSMAN, was “Cash for Clunkers’’ a success?
....
A: I have to go, but let me say this: If Cash for Clunkers were as dubious as you suggest, it wouldn’t have had so many takers.

Q: Oh, for heaven’s sake, congressman: If you give away money, won’t people always line up to take it?
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Tour du Port 2009

Bike Maryland updatesimage
[If you like this site and would love to see more done for cyclists in Maryland then please help out in some way, volunteer, register for the ride or donate to One Less Car.]

Tour du Port – October 4th 2009 – Baltimore's Premier Bicycle Event. Join thousands of riders at Baltimore's Canton Waterfront Park to kick off the 16th Annual Tour du Port! Routes range from a 12 mile ride to a new half Century, 50 mile ride! The Tour route travels through many historic neighborhoods, waterfront areas and parks. This fully supported Tour includes lunch, refreshments at rest stops, map, SAG and a post-ride celebration at the Tour's end. Tour is One Less Car’s annual fundraiser - all fees go directly to advancing the programs and advocacy efforts of One Less Car, a non-profit organization dedicated to walking, bicycling and mass transit in Maryland.

More info here: http://onelesscar.org/page.php?id=156
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An eye on potholes and crime

Biking in BaltimoreThere are a lot of obstacles that Nate Evans considers when he designates a bicycle route.

Baltimore's bicycle pedestrian planner - yes, this is his official title - accounts for potholes, the quality of pavement and how fast cars travel on a particular street. (He calls Northern Parkway a "speedway" that should be avoided by the pedaling crowd.)

But there's another factor that has to be part of the bicycle-loving mayor's Bike Baltimore campaign to mark cycling routes throughout the city.

Crime.

Evans, who works for the city's Department of Transportation, has been quietly recording crimes against bicyclists. He incorporates the information into routes he's mapping, to advise two-wheel commuters on the most efficient way to get from places like Park Heights to downtown without getting beaten, mugged or pelted with rocks.

Based on his statistics, which he acknowledges are incomplete, he advises, for example, that bicyclists leaving Johns Hopkins Hospital avoid most east-side streets and instead pedal south to Highlandtown and head west.

From Northwest Baltimore, he recommends using Eutaw Street instead of the quicker Druid Hill Avenue to get downtown.

"It's out of their way, but they'll get there a lot safer," Evans said.

The idea came from Mayor Sheila Dixon, an avid cyclist who often invites residents and commuters on rides, after a guest told of being shot with a BB gun while riding on Calhoun Street in West Baltimore.
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Hansen: Bicyclist-motorist war is silly

Biking ElsewhereSay what you will about unpredictable, self-absorbed bicycle riders. At least they aren't text messaging as they dart in front of you.

And when it comes to accidents with cars, trucks, SUVs and other armored vehicles, cyclists are almost always the big losers.

So what's the problem, motorists? You have something against colorfully attired, physically fit friends of the environment?

Yes, cyclists can be arrogant and superior and careless. Too many zip through stop signs and stray too close to the center line and think they own the road.
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But get used to them. In 20 years, everyone will be wearing stretchy, tight-fitting outfits and football-shaped headgear (or the 2029 equivalent) and sharing the street with smart cars not much bigger than the bikes they're trying to avoid.

OK, time out. I'd like to keep fanning the car-vs.-bike flames and banging the war drums. It's fun and easy.

Too easy, in fact. This long-running cyclist-motorist feud has gone too far and grown too ugly for no good reason. It must stop.

You'd think everyone was screaming about a public health care option or gays in committed relationships becoming Lutheran pastors. This isn't the end of the world like that.

But groups of people don't just have honest disagreements anymore. Their similarities must be minimized and their differences overemphasized and exaggerated until extremists on both sides drown everyone else out.

So why should something as innocent as bicycle safety be any different from a raucous town hall meeting?

Neither cars nor bicycles are going away. It doesn't have to be like this.
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Pumping Up the Plea to Make L.A. More Bike-Friendly

Biking ElsewhereBy RICHARD RISEMBERG

It was heartening to read Ted Lux’s editorial (“Peddling a Bike-Friendly L.A.” in the Aug. 10 issue) calling for more bicycling and the infrastructure to support it here in Los Angeles. As one who has been promoting the bicycle as transportation for more than 12 years, and riding to work, shopping, to doctors’ and dentists’ offices, and what have you in Los Angeles for more than 40 years, I’d like to add a somewhat extended footnote to Lux’s excellent article.

The environmental benefits of practical cycling are well known – not only do bicycles use no fuel, they require very little space for parking and for travel. While it seems paradoxical that cycling groups are asking for infrastructure that requires yet more paving, in the long run, more cycling will lessen the demand for the far more extensive acres of asphalt that cars require, thereby saving the city money.

Likewise for health: Though many fear cycling, statistics show that it is no more dangerous than driving in the United States. (In Northern Europe, it is less dangerous than driving!) And the increase in cardiovascular and psychological health resulting from cycling (or walking, of course) reduces public (and personal) health costs.

The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever devised, losing only 2 percent of the energy input at the pedals by the time the rubber hits the road. Nothing else even comes close.

In fact, cycling is so efficient that if you want to lose weight, walking is better – cycling uses one-third the calories per mile at four to five times the speed of shoe leather. But it is precisely this combination of speed and efficiency that makes it feasible to cycle instead of drive, when you would simply be sitting on your posterior for those same miles.

You also can carry astounding quantities of stuff on a bicycle, if you’re of a consumerist bent. I recently road-tested a Swedish cargo bike on which I carried my wife and a load of groceries that included a watermelon, for a total load of 150 pounds!

But something else happens when you ride instead of drive, something of particular interest to a city’s business community: At cycling’s transportational pace of 15 miles an hour, you find yourself much more aware of the world you inhabit – the weather, the state of the road, your neighbors, your city’s architecture, and so forth. You enrich your life by seeing things you otherwise would have missed.
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Tough times should not stop innovation in transportation

Biking ElsewhereState Senator Creigh Deeds and River ‘Car Less Brit‘ Laker discuss mass transit, intermodal (roads-to-rails) and urban bike culture

By 2010, all federal and state transportation dollars will be needed to maintain our crumbling highways and closed rest areas leaving precious few funds for transportation improvements elsewhere in the Commonwealth. In fact, the Commonwealth may actually lose federal dollars because the General Assembly can’t provide required matching funds.

Both candidates for governor tout Virginia as the best place in the United States to do business and yet portions of the state’s transportation infrastructure are rapidly deteriorating and agencies lack funding necessary to attract new industry.

For example, Maersk Sealand, which just built a new container terminal on Craney Island in Portsmouth, needs help to increase road or rail capacity to serve the total build-out planned by Maersk. But Virginia cannot offer that help.

Last month, we sent 8 very specific questions regarding the sorry state of Virginia’s transportation infrastructure to both campaigns.

Until last weekend, we had not heard from either campaign; however, during a whirlwind tour through the Roanoke and New River Valleys on Saturday, State Senator Deeds gave SCH’s foreign correspondent River ‘Car Less Brit’ Laker about 10 minutes of face-time to address some of our transportation questions.
Why do conservatives loathe bikes and public transit?

Rush Limbaugh says, “Frankly, if the door opens into a bicycle rider I won’t care. I think they ought to be off the streets[.]”

The Virginia Bicycling Federation has called Congressman Eric Cantor on the carpet for his vehement opposition to bike-ped: “Cantor also added the expansion of the Smart Bike program- the first bike-sharing system of its kind in North America- as an additional example of wasteful stimulus spending” (source: LAB).

And FoxNews reports that Congressional Republicans have taken aim at funding in the Recovery Act specifically earmarked for alternative transportation, including increased bike paths as part of the Safe Routes to School program.

To his credit, and given the immense popularity of the Roanoke Valley Greenway system, Representative Bob Goodlatte has broken with Congressional conservatives to provide additional funding to complete the Roanoke River Greenway.

The League of American Bicyclists has reported that

It has been proven that dollar for dollar, bike infrastructure has a higher return on investment than road expansion. In fact, for every $1 million invested in an FHWA-approved paved bicycle or multi-use trail, the local economy gains 65 jobs. The modest expansion of the Smart Bike system will not only reduce co2 emissions by 1.5 tons every day (based on current usage rates), it will stimulate job growth. In addition to the numerous construction jobs created, the system expansion will not only create 20 new full-time jobs, they’ll also be green jobs that contribute to a healthier, more environmentally sound Washington. Another tourist-heavy area saw a 9 to 1 return on its investment in bike related infrastructure.

Deeds: Investments in our transportation infrastructure, from bike paths to intermodal (road to rail), make economic sense
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Baltimore's Bikeability - Maryland Morning with Sheilah Kast

Biking in BaltimoreSegment Originally Aired May 13, 2009
Play now (11:36)
Biking your commute is better for you and for the environment, but just how easy is it to do in Baltimore? Our producers bring us along as they do their best to bike into work. Baltimore City's Bike Planner Nate Evans, and the president of one less car Greg Cantori also join us to talk about how bike-able Baltimore is.

Baltimore's biking scene continues to grow! You can bike around Baltimore on the upcoming Tour Du Port Bike ride on October 4th. The Harford Road Beautification Project might be putting bike lanes in their community, you can find out more at their community meeting on August 26th.

External Links:
Tour Du Port Ride
Harford Road Beautification project Meeting (PDF)
Biking Baltimore
One Less Car
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