Monday, April 25, 2011

Bike parks again

Here is a reminder that the community meetings for the City of Pittsburgh's parks and open space plan are taking place this week and next; the first meeting is this evening in Lawrenceville.  If you are a cyclist in SW Pennsylvania please try to attend a meeting. Still unsure about what a dedicated bicycle park looks like? Here is a video just for you.    

Bring the riding to the people (trailer) from ElasticLab on Vimeo.

We need to come together as a cycling community to decide what something like this would look like in Pittsburgh.  Maybe some XC trails?  How about a Cyclocross course with stands, spectating, and a pits area? How about a pump track? Maybe a bike polo court? How about a fixed gear freestyle area with boxes and banks? Dirt jumps, freeride sections, childrens' fun features, skills development course, criterium road loop, bmx track, unicycle area, recumbent beard trimming station, you get the idea; basically, if we can all get together and make our desires heard, there is a better chance we can make it happen.
Power to the people.  

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Imagine a Pittsburgh bicycle park: it would be bananas!

image courtesy Rich Vossler Photography

This is a special Wednesday post so everyone can get these events on their calendars. A big part of why I started putting up my thoughts online was to create another venue for talking about urban bicycle parks. I am thrilled about the increase in on-street infrastructure that promotes bicycle commuting; I love bicycle transportation, and I myself commute by bicycle daily, but my heart has always been in the dirt. Therefore, it excites me to get the chance to share the first step toward creating a recreational bicycle facility inside the City of Pittsburgh. The Department of City Planning is hosting a series of community meetings to gauge interest in re-imagining the city's parks and other city-owned properties. This is the Open Space component of PlanPGH. Cyclists need to let their voices be heard: we want to see a park dedicated to bicycles.
If you are interested at all in parks, bicycles, or open space issues, please try to attend one the of meetings that works for you. And just to make things clear, I work for the Department of City Planning.

If you are wondering what an urban bicycle park might look like, other cities have done this.

BoulderNew York CitySeattle.

Boulder is creating what will be one of the coolest bicycle parks in the world.

Pittsburgh we're coming for you...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Summer starts now, 3-2-1 go!

Well, the weekend is upon us pretty quickly again, which means it's time for a little bit of bicycle-themed nonsense from the 'Burgh.

There is no doubt that road racing is growing in popularity again; although I guess it sort of ebbs and flows. I have always preferred the dirt-schralping, muddy, dusty, sun hot, wrong turn excitement of mountain bikes over the shaved legs of road bikes. However, like countless others who grew up in Colorado, I have vivid memories of following and watching the Coors Classic.  It had drama, the 7-11 team, lots of mountain passes, hairnet helmets, and cool helicopter shots of southern Colorado's rugged scrub--anyone remember the tour of the moon? Actually, now that I think about those memories, I might just be picturing scenes from American Flyers. Either way, I am very excited that it is returning in August as the Quizno's Challenge USA Pro Cycling Challenge (the first name was truly awful, good job on changing it everyone). The organizers of the Pro Challenge are hoping to rocket the race back into global relevance, so with with all the money going into it we might end up with a pro tour stage race that rivals the ones held in France, Italy, and Spain. Cool.  

Well right here in Pittsburgh, local racing teams are getting ready for the first road event of the season with the Steel City Showdown taking place downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday. The race was first held in 2008.  After the organizers failed to get things dialed last year, some local folks from the Iron City Bikes team rallied around the cause and made it happen for 2011. This should be a lot of fun, and if you happen to be in the area, swing by and say hello. Juniors start at 8:30. Cat 1 starts at 12:20.      

Friday, April 8, 2011

April showers bring...hypothermia

April is upon us here in Pittsburgh and that means getting soaked to the bone by freezing rain and hail. Awesome! But April is also the month of the Spring Classics. Like a lot of bicycle riders I can more easily relate to the demands of a one day race than I can to the 20+ stage-race spectacle of the big tour road races. The ability to go as hard as you can, ignore pain, and embrace suffering, for like 160 miles makes me feel a little guilty for complaining about getting wet on a 20 mile ride.  Anyway, if you have some spare time on Sunday morning, check out Paris-Roubaix. Here is a photo from the nasty section of cobbles known as the Arenberg Trench, or the TrouĂ©e d’Arenberg for those that speak Spanish or whatever. 
Image taken from, where you may get to watch a live stream, if you wake up early.

Speaking of waking up early, and getting stuff done, some of you may have noticed, after months of research by the Marketing and Partnerships department, Rigid Bicycles has launched a new branding campaign, including new logo and trademark. The logo version that is in the header of today's post preformed well for sample audiences in test markets like Djibouti (and also in the world's smallest island nation, the Republic of Nauru); so I figure that by next week the logo should be as relevant to the national consciousness as the McDonald's golden arches. We'll know more next week. Which, is better than how much we knew last week, when, during my blogular enthusiasm about Pinkbike's move to a print format, I swallowed their April fools joke, hook line and sinker. There are no plans for a Pinkbike magazine, no matter how much time and photoshop skills they put into creating the first issue's cover.  Oh well, at least I was not tricked by Stevil Kinevil's April 1st report of abandoning his website for a job at the GAP.

Well, its pouring rain outside the window, and I've got places to be.  Have a great weekend, and catch you on the flipside.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

little bits of news

The past two weeks have brought snow, rain, sleet, hail, and freezing temperatures for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  This weekend finally has some clear weather. Get after it everybody!

If you have given much thought to how to best increase trips on bicycles, there is no doubt that you have thought about bike lanes.  Well, bike lanes are back on the front burner. Eben Weiss, a.k.a the Bike Snob, has authored a more thoughtful, more artful, and better articulated argument for bike lanes than I can ever hope to cobble together; however, the fact that the commissioned piece was rejected by the Wall Street Journal before publication disappoints. If you are in the least interested in bicycles or urban planning (or controversy, unfortunately) then please do me a great favor and head over to his site to read his post from Friday April 1.

There were a few pretty cool developments in the world of bicycles for the month of March. The global bicycle conference, Velo City, wrapped up this week in Sevilla, Spain; local bicycle advocacy organization Bike Pittsburgh was represented by their Executive Director, Scott Bricker; and the National Bike Summit went down in Washington D.C.  Big congratulations to bikePGH for the Advocacy Organization of the Year award from the Alliance for Biking and Walking

In an interesting twist on the paranoia about the future of the print media landscape, the "dirtroots" mountain bike website, Pinkbike, (the likely origin of 90% of reposted bike-video content) announced that they will begin selling a monthly print magazine.  I think there is some deep thinking and analysis that could be applied toward this complete reversal of the old media model, but I'll leave all that introspection to folks who have more time on their hands.  All I'm gonna say is: I think it's radical.

Well, that's it for another week.  Get out and play in the dirt.