Hiatus, Hibernation, and Superheroes

Arielle here, writing from Golden, where it’s 60 degrees and thusly we have no excuse for winter hibernation.

Which is what we’ve been doing. For the past month. 

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I know.

But I have good news. It’s 2014, and we’re back!

Now for some other tidbits. Recently I was asked, by a cycling organization in a land far, far away from our fair city, to come up with THE BEST marketing plan for adult bike education classes. How would I convince people who are probably angry about cycling and sunshine and happiness and unicorns that they SHOULD be into all of those things?

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Oh, this was difficult. I had to think about it. For a LONG time. 

I pictured myself being heckled by a man resembling the one in the photo below. [See Figure 1, Angry Man]

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[Figure 1: Angry man. Image via]

And then I had an idea.

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[Illustration by Mike Joos, image via]

Biking gives you superpowers! Like, not the ability to fly and destroy buildings and stuff — more like everyday superpowers. Feeling good about yourself, beating crosstown traffic, making spandex look not so not-cool. Etc. 

And so, one fateful day, I dragged a few friends out to help illustrate my point. Here’s what we came up with:

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Stunning, no? I was trying to communicate the idea that biking can play a role in transforming out everyday lives for the better. 

What do you think? If you don’t bike, does this make you want to give it a try? If you do, what’s your everyday superpower?

Denver B-Cycle by the numbers

accessing denvers bike share

Access the full ITDP report here, and take a look at Streetfilms’ coverage of the bike share boom.

What this infographic doesn’t tell us: Who is using Denver’s bike share program? What does the gender breakdown look like? What’s the average income level of Denver B-cycle customers? How many people are riding B-cycle through the winter?

West 32nd Ave. gets a sharrow!

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A slightly personal post. West 32nd Avenue is not in Denver. It’s in unincorporated Jefferson County, on the way to downtown Golden. And it’s the road I take to my neighborhood every day. But 32nd Ave. is known for being pretty dangerous for cyclists. It’s narrow, poorly lit, and cars come whizzing by faster than the 35 mph speed limit. Over the past months, ongoing construction has widened the road, and — as of last week — it’s been legitimated as a bike route. Huzzah!

The bike week in review

Stories from across the World Wide Web.

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“Nature’s balaclava.” Image via

An unlikely cyclist discovers the rewards of bike commuting when he makes a pledge to retire his car for a year.

Heidi Lappetito pedals her cargo bike while making a delivery of frozen salmon into Port Townsend, Wash. Nearly all deliveries of the wild Pacific salmon

Cargo bikes are the new minivan!

An artist uses Google Maps to plan hydra-shaped rides. We want to do this in Denver!

Mayor Hancock is making more appearances on the bike scene — earlier this week he spoke at a Manual High School ceremony where high-achieving and hard-working students were given bikes to celebrate their efforts.DSC_0044

Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor Bogotá, Colombia, has a new Ted Talk that’s well worth watching.  Peñalosa is credited with vastly improving infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, expanding the city’s now famous Ciclovía, and generally making Bogotá a better place to work, live and play.

Check Bikenomics, Elly Blue’s new book on how bicycling can fix our economic woes. We haven’t read it yet — have you?

Jeffco gets feedback on a plan to create a bike lane along West Bowles Avenue.

Mayor Hancock Drops in on The Depot

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock took some time to check out The Bike Depot, a non-profit bike shop in Park Hill where I work. Mr. Hancock arrived with his entourage and press-corps, took a quick tour of the shop, shook a few hands and was on his way down the block. Although there was no time to ask questions, this surface visit does beg two about the future of biking in Denver. Before I do that I will say that Mayor Hancock has participated in Bike to Work Day the last few years and backed the Denver City Councils focus on pedestrian/Bicycle Safety in their next budget proposal. But let’s get into some important issues:

1. Are there going to be ACTUAL separated bike lanes, especially downtown? The 15th Street Bike Lane was an awesome addition for biking downtown but there are still opportunities for car traffic to creep into the lane. Creating less interface between cars and bicycles is good for everyone. It improves traffic flow, encourages bicycle commuting and cuts down on accidents. It is also a commitment by a city to its cyclists, and when a city does this it instantly gives cyclists credibility and respect from drivers.
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2. Will there be any money put into educating motor vehicle drivers? There are bad bicyclists and there are bad drivers. The difference is that bicyclists aren’t moving a metal box that weighs over a thousand pounds at high speeds. The bottom line is that car drivers need to wake up and realize that if they hit a bicyclist or pedestrian they could scar, maim or kill that individual. If the opposite occurs there might be some scratches on the paint. Or blood. It would be great to see city and state government emphasize this when someone wants to renew their drivers license. Or, maybe create a state-wide ad campaign that is catchy, visible and straightforward about the reality of the situation. Whatever way we can improve the relationship between cars and bicyclists should take priority when city funds are being given to the task. Denver is a mecca for Millennials, and Millennials are driving less and biking more than ever. If drivers aren’t made to take bicycle commuting seriously, no friendly visits from the Mayor will ever make up for a dead or maimed cyclist.
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Let’s talk about winter riding

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So. It’s really starting to feel like winter, and we thought we would throw out the ole’ cold weather commuting tips post.

Salient items are as follows:

 Winterize your ride: Invest in some fenders, which will keep you dry in slushy conditions. Switch out those slicks for knobby tires or even some big studded snow tires to give you more traction. Consider using your mountain bike if you’ve got one – it’ll be a slower, safer ride.

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Dress for anything: Layers! Denver = warm during the day, freezing frigid evil at night. Get yourself a decent base layer (that tight, polyester superhero stuff) and a balaclava to conserve the warmth in yer noggin. Gloves that are like lobster claws or mittens will keep your hands warmer than five-fingered gloves.

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And your feet – they will get really cold, and that’s the WORST. Using some sort of foot covering will minimize the discomfort. They sell those things at REI and bike stores for too many $$$, but you could also DIY with some thick socks that will fit over your shoes.

Maintain your machine: Lube, triflow, regular cleaning, etc. If you need help, work on your bike here, here, and here  – they’ve got tools and expertise.

Volunteer so other people can get bikes: Lots of places around town to help out with holiday bike giveaways, general wrenching duties, etc. Such as: Lucky Bikes Re-Cyclery, The Bike Pit, The Bike Depot, Community Cycles, and Longmont Bike Garage.

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Loiter in places that are warm. Truth: sometimes I don’t want to ride my bike. Because it’s cold, because I’m lazy, etc. When that happens, I like to loiter in the public library, the Denver Bicycle Café, the Recyclery, or Mutiny Books on South Broadway.

Go to an event to be with like-minded weirdos. Such as:

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Holiday Mancraft: Today, Dec. 6! We hear that Connor Cycles, a local maker of hand-built wooden frames, will be there.

A Winter of Cyclists, a film about a group of bikers struggling through cold-season commuting, is playing at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder December 8. It will be at the SIE Film Center in Denver Jan. 17.

Registration for the Colorado Bicycle Summit (Feb. 10, 11 2014) is now open. They’re going to talk about how to improve bicycling in our state.

What do you do to stay on your bike during the winter? Please tell us; we want to know all your secrets.

Here’s what I think of this new map of Denver …

A website called MapUrbane is making graphics that poke well-meaning fun of neighborhoods in Denver, and in other U.S. cities. Which is nifty, except that some folks thought their jokes were a) inaccurate and b) not very funny. But I think this map has problems for different reasons: it doesn’t acknowledge any of the cool things our city is doing to improve public transportation and cycling options.

Take a look:

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Oof, let’s see, some of the things they forgot to mention:

  • Denver has some pretty sweet bike paths running all over the place (like the Cherry Creek Trail and the South Platte River Trail). Stapleton, which MapUrbane calls “Almost Feels like Aurora,” hosts Sand Creek Regional Greenway and Bluff Lake Nature Observatory, where you can be in and of the city on your bike but feel like you’re way out in big sky country.
  • Park Hill, home to one of our favorite community bike centers, City Park, and some pretty fantastic cupcakes, among other delights, is simply labeled “Schools and Churches” and “Just Plain Residential.” If only they knew!
  • Poor old RTD can’t catch a break on this map, either. One neighborhood on here is actually labeled “Ugh, not another RTD commute. Wait, there’s public transportation in Denver?” For a system that recently opened a new light rail station that runs all the way to Golden and is working on a massive project to extend coverage to DIA, that stings.
  • Globeville might smell like dog chow/rodeo (?) sometimes, but it’s also a fantastic place to ride around on a warm summer night.
  • The area labeled “Generic people in Lakewood wearing North Face or Patagonia listening to Jack Johnson in their subarus while driving to a micro-craft beer bar” is not in actually in Lakewood. Lakewood is west of Sheridan Boulevard, which is west of Federal Boulevard. Also, Lakewood may be one of the only Western suburbs of Denver where people don’t really wear North Face or Patagonia and listen to Jack Johnson in their subarus.
  • I’d like to re-label “Western affluent football suburbs that are on their way to boarding” with “Bike route to Golden, cool microbreweries, almost to Red Rocks, Morrison, and pretty fantastic mountain biking.”

The bottom line: If we don’t like their map of Denver, maybe we should make our own. Hey, maybe we will!