Classic Left Cross

Fortunately, the cyclist was not injured.

This is very similar to the one time I was hit by a car. It’s also similar to a more violent crash that occurred on Colonial a few months ago.

Keep in mind, when you are passing a queue, every gap in the adjacent traffic is an opportunity for someone to turn left across your path. It’s very likely the gap is there because a driver in the queue is leaving an opening for crossing/turning driver at a driveway or intersection. You may not be able to see the crossing/turning vehicle, but you can certainly identify the conditions. Passing a queue should not be done any faster than you can react and stop instantly (for me, that’s about 6mph).

If the queue is short, it’s safer to get in line. If it’s long, be aware of the risks and ride accordingly. Or use a different road.

More on preventing the left cross.

Remember, a screened left cross can happen when you’re controlling a lane, too.

That’s your public safety announcement for today. Carry on.

A Great New Connection!

It’s here! The much anticipated (by me, anyway) Cady Way extension connecting Cady Way and Audubon Park to Coytown and Lake Druid Park (mountain bike park and community garden).



View larger map

Green line is the new connection (there were no roads through here). Yellow line is new, completed sidewalk. Pink line is proposed sidewalk (survey flags mark it now). Purple lines are quiet street routes to/from Cady Way and Audubon Park. A lot of people prefer to cut through the mall, so that’s an option, but I’m more comfortable on the road. The purple routes use a parking lot cut-through. This has long been used by cyclists and pedestrians to cut into the back of the Target shopping center. It’s private property, so it will never be part of an official route.

The cones are still there, but the concrete is dry and people are already using it. Here are some photos, starting from the East end at Warehouse Rd.

Looking West from Warehouse Rd.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! This is a connection to Primrose. This will change my route for a number of common trips, especially at high-traffic times.

Here’s the West end, looking toward the Lake Druid Park entrance at the end of Coy St.

Looking back to the East (right). I like that the city has chosen to use the medians rather than bollards. Check out the contrail in the sky. Turns out, this is also a good place to watch a rocket launch (which happened behind my back when I was riding west).

There is more to this project. The city has added an enormous sidewalk along Maguire Blvd. and Warehouse Rd.

This will be great for rollerbladers, wheelchair users and people pushing strollers to connect to Cady Way and the mall.

I hope there is a plan to add good, marked and signalized crosswalks to get across Maguire from this deluxe sidewalk. Right now there is only one crosswalk at the main mall entrance and it has an unreasonably long delay if you don’t catch it at the right point in the cycle. The mall entrance does not line up with any of the roads, so it is not a convenient place to cross if you are coming from Executive Center, Lawton or Woodcock (where there are no marked crosswalks).

There are also no sidewalks on Woodcock or Lawton (people walk in the gutter and wait at the Lynx stops in the grass). But the city’s sidewalk improvement project is underway!

I saw new sidewalks being installed in Audubon Park last week and I was very excited to see a new sidewalk under construction on Executive Center Dr. (right).

Thank you Orlando! This makes a big difference for us!

For more on connectivity, see:

Collaborative Connectivity Project

Making Biking Easier than Driving

Little Big Things 

1,000 Miles – The Victory Lap

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Like most adults, I hadn’t ridden a bike in years. During a vacation to Mackinac Island in 2006, I rented a beach cruiser and took an eight mile ride around the perimeter of this “car free” getaway. After returning home, I researched bikes and selected an Electra Townie 7D. Not an electric bike, the “Electra Bicycle Company” is the manufacturer of this hybrid / comfort bicycle. I took it out for a spin now and then around the neighborhood; but unfortunately the bike stayed in the garage most of the time.

In January, 2010 I received some news that was rather unsettling. I was informed that a tremor that in my left hand had been diagnosed as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It only seemed logical to make an effort to improve my level of fitness, so I began spending a bit more time on my bike. That was fun until I smacked my shoulder into a steel guard rail while attempting to make a sharp turn onto a narrow bridge. I told my neurologist about the accident and also shared the fact that narrow sidewalks made me uncomfortable. He recommended limiting my cycling to a stationary bike in a gym. I immediately dismissed that advice and simply used more caution during my rides.

In November, 2010 I enrolled in a Cycling Savvy class. The twelve hour program consisted of four hours of classroom training which emphasized the best ways to avoid hazards, followed the next morning with bike handling skills training, and finished with a four hour riding tour of Orlando. We rode a total of 25 miles that day, much further than I had ever traveled on a bike. That class equipped me with the skills and confidence to ride whenever and wherever I chose. I applied those skills by taking part in group rides, personal trail rides, and began to rent bikes in cities around the country while on business trips.

I began hearing about others riding significant distances. A college friend and her husband had done 500 miles in ten days during a trip to the Northeast. I met a person who regularly rode in “ultra-distance events” of 200 miles or more at one time. The number “500” began to sound possible and I set it as an “objective,” but one without a specific time limit. I would be pleased to simply ride that far “eventually.”

Around February, 2011 I viewed a movie trailer for a documentary film called “Ride with Larry.” The video focused on Larry Smith, a person who has lived with Parkinson’s for twenty years, and was planning a 300 mile ride across South Dakota. He would be riding a Catrike recumbent bike and accompanied by a core group of supporters. Other riders were invited join Larry on the final day’s 65 mile push to the finish line. I decided to take part and began working out the logistics and training to build up my endurance. By the time I traveled to Sioux Falls, SD in June, I had amassed over 500 miles. With my son, Brian, riding by my side, I experienced “The Most Exhilarating Ride of My Life.”

Larry and John - Front Row

A major sponsor of the “Ride with Larry” was the Davis Phinney Foundation, founded by Olympic Medalist and Tour de France stage winner, Davis Phinney. He was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s when he was just 40 years old. His Foundation supports research to find a cure, but also provides information for people living with Parkinson’s on “how to live well today.” I became part of their “Victory Crew” and have raised close to $ 5,000 this year to support the cause.

Victory Crew Celebration - John and Brian

I slacked off a bit in July and August, but then made the decision to set a personal goal of riding 1,000 miles before the anniversary of the Cycling Savvy class. With two weeks remaining, I was up to 875 miles and just had 125 miles to go. It was doable, but would require dedication. I mentioned my plan to Charles Badger, a Cycling Savvy Instructor. He offered to help me reach my goal by joining me on two rides during the final week. By the way, Charles was the ultra-distance rider I mentioned earlier.

Boys and Girls Club Ride

We met at the AAA headquarters on Sunday (11/6/11). We would be accompanying riders from a company Charles knew. He went over the route and asked me to take the lead. He would follow behind and “shepherd our flock”. Being asked to “Lead the Dance” was a big honor and even a larger responsibility. The phrase was coined by Keri Caffrey, Founder of Cycling Savvy, and is best understood through this video as a way to ride with confidence.

Our group of 25 riders consisted of representatives from a finance company, their clients, family and friends. I noticed that two of the ladies were riding bikes similar to mine.. When I asked them about their bikes; they acknowledged that they “hadn’t taken them out of the garage in more than a year.” This was going to be a long day for them, but they did well throughout the ride.

We started along International Parkway. I quickly discovered that a disadvantage of “riding point” was contending with headwinds and carving a path through the wind for the rest of the riders. We seemed to be riding directly into the wind much of the day. However, we had a pleasant tailwind as we rode along the south side of Lake Monroe. We made our way through the town of Sanford. It was a beautiful day.

Much of our 30 mile ride was through back country roads and everyone appreciated the scenery and the opportunity to converse with one another. I started a mini stampede when I rang my bell as we passed a pasture full of horses. All in all, it was a good way to spend time together and support a good cause.

During the midpoint rest stop, I saw Michael Cottle, owner of OutSpoken Bikes – the shop where I had purchased my bike. He was surprised to see me leading the group on my Townie. Many cycling friends have recommended that I “move up” to a road bike, but for now the current transportation has been a great ride and served me well for many miles. I love my bike!

At the last stop, Charles asked me to explain the chalk drawings that he had made on the pavement describing how to handle the remaining interchanges. It was gratifying to share my cycling knowledge with the group. I also thanked them for helping me move closer to my goal and shared the fact that I had Parkinson’s disease, explaining the benefits of cycling as therapy for Parkinson’s patients.

After navigating the Country Club Road, Lake Mary Blvd. and Reinhardt Road sections, we finally approached the bicycle / pedestrian bridge over I-4. Charles rode up next to me and I admitted, “I got nothing left for the bridge”. My new mentor immediately shot back some words of encouragement which was just what I needed. I executed the first turn onto the ramp by going down to my second gear, but the 180 degree turn was too much, so I dismounted and let the group pass. I admit to “walking” my bike up to the apex of the bridge, but sailed off the downside ramp at about 20 mph and rejoined the group at the point where they had gathered and was met with a round of applause from “my peeps”. I resumed my spot up front and brought the herd back to the starting point.

Boys and Girls Club Ride

We were each given a medal upon our return. Later I realized that it read “Century Ride,” recognition for completing the 100 mile route. I’m all for being honest, but rationalizing that I would soon be reaching my goal of the equivalent of “Ten Centuries” so I proudly placed the medal around my neck.

Veteran’s Day Ride – Final Push

Charles showed up Friday morning at the meeting spot behind the Peach Valley Cafe. He was accompanied by a co-worker, Ryan Warner, who was wearing a U.S. Marines Corp logo on his jersey. It was very fitting to be doing this ride on Veteran’s Day (11/11/11) with a veteran. Ryan, thank you for your service to our country!

I only needed 18.42 miles to reach the goal. Charles had mapped out a 35 mile route. We again passed the AAA building as we rode up International Parkway. However, we quickly encountered 16 mph winds which slowed our progress.

When we reached 17-92, we crossed the Old St. John’s River Bridge. Halfway up the ascent I elected to walk my bike to avoid pulling a muscle. Charles and Ryan waited patiently at the top. We took a moment to catch our breath and pose for a few photos with the I-4 Bridge in the background.

We turned onto the Spring to Spring Trail. It wound through a tree-lined path providing protection from the wind. Ryan saw a wild pig and Charles pointed out several deer in one meadow. Along the way we took in views of Lake Monroe with the mid-morning sunlight dancing off the waves.

We left the trail at Dirksen Drive. After a mile on that busy road, we turned onto Main St. through the town of Enterprise, a perfect example of old Florida with restored buildings dating back to the late 1800’s. Next we turned left onto Enterprise Osteen Road. It offered several miles of live oak trees, dripping with Spanish moss, which provided a lush canopy of greenery. We were rapidly approaching “the goal.”

I began calling out the countdown as we completed each remaining mile. My companions allowed me to ride alone up front to savor the moment. Five, four, three, two ….. With one mile to go, we passed a house with an American flag flying proudly in the wind. My countdown became “tenths:” and then we were there. Goal accomplished – 1,000 miles in one year!

Davis Phinney would celebrate every cycling victory by sitting up in the saddle and raising his arms into a “V” for victory. One of his Foundation’s mottos is “Every Victory Counts”. Achieving my goal was indeed a victory for which I am very proud. It was a pleasure to raise my arms up in celebration and to be photographed with my “Ride with Larry” shirt, which Davis Phinney had personally autographed for me at the Grand Rapids Victory Summit.

Reaching this personal goal didn’t earn me a medal or have any significant meaning in the grand scheme of things. It did, however, prove to me that I can take on challenges and work steadily towards achieving them. I don’t know how Parkinson’s will affect me over time, but I am doing my best to fight back. The goal was personal, but achieving it was a “team victory” due in large part to a tremendous amount of support, encouragement, and love that I’ve received from family, friends, and complete strangers.

Charles, John, and Ryan

We resumed our ride and savored the beautiful fall day, smooth pavement, and the satisfaction that comes from “crossing the finish line”. After winding around the east side of Lake Monroe, we headed west along Lake Mary Blvd. back towards our starting point. The final “feature” of the day was crossing the I-4 interchange on Lake Mary Blvd. It was a fitting way to complete our “Victory Lap.” That major interchange once was a major obstacle for me. Two weeks after completing the Cycling Savvy class last year, I navigated it for the first time. Keri Caffrey coached me through it and video-taped the original ride.

These 1,000 miles were made up of many small victories along the way. I plan to continue to cycle as long as I can. Some of the future miles may be difficult, but they will all be a source of joy.

Daily Mile Log 11/11/11 -

Tis the Season, Let’s Ride!

It’s that time of year again! I’m going to use this post to add rides as they are planned or sent to me. Here’s what I have so far:

Dec. 2: First Friday – Light Up Orlando!

Let’s be festive! Decorate your bike for December’s First Friday ride. Battery-powered Christmas lights can be found at Home Depot. There are other fun items, like neon wires and spoke lights (more on these later, I’m trying out a set right now).

Decorating bikes is not a requirement. You can just show up and ride, as always!

Dec. 3: Winter Park Christmas Parade

Breakaway Bicycles is organizing a bike group for the parade. Meet at the shop for coffee, donuts and bike decorating at 8 AM. The Parade begins at 9. The Breakaway group is in starting place 88 (MAP). Dress as an elf, a who or a grinch (just no Santa characters). Decorate your bike or build a trailer float.

S-Cargo will be there with penguins. Let us know if you want to build a float and need a trailer.

Dec. 10: New Hope for Kids Holiday Bicycle Ride

(Want to be a ride marshal? See below.)

Join New Hope for Kids on Saturday, December 10th for the 9th annual Holiday Bicycle Ride. This fun adventure through Winter Park and Casselberry is the perfect occasion for you and your family to feel the wonder and excitement this time of year brings! As hundreds of bicycle riders cruise through 9 miles of brightly lit neighborhoods, it is impossible to miss the joy of the season.

Registration and festivities begin at 4 pm with the ride starting promptly at 6 pm. Anyone 10 years and older may ride solo. Children younger than 10 must be in a trailer or on a tandem. All children under 16 must wear a helmet. All participants must be able to maintain a speed of 12 mph. Flashers on your bike and helmet are recommended for this NIGHT Ride.

Cost is $10 in advance/$12 night of the event and includes music and refreshments. For more information: www.newhopeforkids.org or 407.331.3059 x10.

All proceeds will benefit New Hope for Kids, an approved 501 c3 organization which provides specialized support to children and families grieving the death of a loved one and grants wishes to children with life-threatening illness in Central Florida.

Ride marshals needed!

Bike/Walk Central Florida is looking for volunteers to help marshall the New Hope for Kids Christmas Ride. This is a fun event for a great cause! Contact Brad Kuhn if you can help. Marshals meeting is at 5:15 — get a snazzy yellow T-shirt, and join hundreds of folks on a fun, slow meander through residential streets in Casselberry. We need about 15 volunteers.

Dec. 10: B3 Café Ride

Leaves from the café at 7:00 p.m. (3022 Corrine Drive);  decorated bikes and kids are encouraged – you must have helmets, lights (front and rear);  there’ll be live music afterward!


That’s what I have so far. If you’re planning a ride, please contact me with the info and I’ll add it. There will probably be some other christmas lights rides. I’ll post them as they’re planned or sent to me.

Bicycling Infrastructure We Can Live Without

Oh, dear me! Another city (Indianapolis) tries to accomodate bicyclists by painting some “creatively” designed lanes.

http://www.wthr.com/story/16050449/bike-lanes-continue-to-confuse-drivers-riders

This could go in the Cycling Infrastructure Hall of Shame. The video is cringe inducing.

Christmas Wish List – Bike Lights

My family asks me every year what I want for Christmas and I rarely have a very good answer.  Under duress, usually end up blurting out “a new shirt” or some other lame gift – and that’s exactly what I get!  (Apologies to my family because they have given me many really cool gifts over the years – thank you!).  This year’s going to be different.  I need bike accessories!  Not just any bike accessories, but “bike lights.”  I want to “see” and “be seen,” especially with the frequency of nighttime riding increasing as we roll into the holidays and winter months.

I’m turning to all of you for advice.  I need to be clear about the items I put on my wish list and where to find them, so website links would be very helpful.  Share what you love about your favorite lights – brightness, battery strength, ease of attaching / removing, or suggestions for fun and decorative lights too.  Some of the ideas generated might end up on your own lists, so you may find just what you want under your Christmas Tree.

Headlights and Tailights – From “good enough” to “flat out nuclear powered,” what lighting systems do you recommend to light up the night?  The goal is for others to see you, as well as having the ability to clearly shed enough light on the trail or roadway ahead to navigate your route safely.  What works best and why?

Side lighting – Many people attach small lights to their bike frames, racks or trunk bags for additional illumination.  What “stocking stuffers” do you recommend in this category?

Helmet lights – Another area to brighten up is your helmet.  What options exist for lighting up your “control tower?”

Fun Lights – Keri Caffrey recently installed a “Mini Monkey Light” on her bike.  The lighted images change as she pedals.  Very cool look.  Monkey Electric also offers full wheel lights.  Here’s my “gift” to you – the link to find these lights – http://www.monkeylectric.com/   What other options are out there for decorating your bike for the holidays?

I can’t wait to see your comments!  Wishing all of you a very Happy Holidays and plenty of safe and bright nighttime riding!

Oh, and as long as I’m wishing, I could use a bike trailer to give my grandaughter, Lilly, and my pups, Toby and JJ, a ride.  And a new Bianchi road bike, a folding bike (with clown nose) and a Catrike would be cool too!

 

Have You Been in a Bike Lane Crash?

I’m compiling and mapping crashes involving cyclists in bike lanes in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties. If you’ve been involved in such a crash I’d like to hear from you. Some key information I’d need:

Date and Time: if you don’t have the exact date, just the year will do.

Location: what street were you on and what was the nearest cross street? It’s helpful if you can also give an estimate of the distance and direction to that cross street.

Crash Type Info:
Was a motor vehicle involved, another cyclist, or just you and the roadway environment?
Were you going with or against the flow of traffic? (I wouldn’t expect CO readers to be going the wrong way, but just in case…)
If a motorist was involved, what were his or her actions? Pulling out from a driveway or cross street? Right hook? Left cross? Dooring? Explain as best you can.

Lighting: was it daytime or night; dawn or dusk? If night, did you have lights on your bike?

Was a police report filed?

Please send your story to Mighk Wilson, mwilson@metroplanorlando.com

Cargo Ride: Winter Park Harvest Festival 2011

But don’t expect to see a cow in Winter Park!

 

Come ride with Commute Orlando’s S-Cargo to the Winter Park Harvest Festival on Sunday, November 20, 2011.  Everyone is invited. We’ll meet at the Cady Way Trailhead parking area (behind Fashion Square Mall) at 9:30 AM.  We’ll ride a scenic route at a relaxed pace. We rode to this event last November, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

The festival will have local farmers, artists, and vendors, so you may want to bring some panniers or a basket, trailer, cargo bike, messenger bag, whatever, but you don’t have to.  If you are interested in carrying cargo by bicycle, this would be a good chance to try it out and get some ideas. If you are local, and want to borrow a cargo trailer or bags, just let me know. I have some extras.

Information on the Harvest Festival is at:     http://winterparkharvestfestival.com/

I’ll bring coffee to the trailhead for those of you who need it to wake up and ride.  There are also food vendors at the event, with some yummy edibles.

Come have some bicycling fun!

 

 

LYNX is auctioning bikes

LYNX  often has bikes left at stops or on buses and will auction those that go unclaimed once a year or so. Some look to be in decent shape or have fairly good components. Obviously they’re in as-is condition but thought some resourceful folks out here might be interested. They’re all for local pickup at a Longwood warehouse.

http://www.technologysurplusdepot.com/auctions.aspx?cons=122348

There are also some retired transit buses and cars being sold as well. If anyone wants a 40′ Gillig Bus.

http://www.technologysurplusdepot.com/auctions.aspx?cons=122349