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Events Calendar

Wed, Oct 1 - Sat, Nov 1
Oak Cliff, Dallas, TX, USA
Cyclesomatic 2014 (Dallas)

Sun, Nov 212:00pm - 4:00pm
Houston, TX, USA
Sunday Streets HTX

Sat, Nov 8
Lazy L & L Campground, 11699 River Rd, New Braunfels, TX, United States
Tour de Gruene

Fri, Nov 14 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225, United States
CyclingSavvy DFW Workshop

Sat, Nov 15 8:00am - 3:30pm
Northway Christian Church, 7202 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX 75225, United States
CyclingSavvy DFW Workshop

Safety & Education

SafeCyclist Training

Get certified to teach the SafeCyclist Curriculum 

Educational Resources

 Resources for teachers and community members

SRTS Event Handbook

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News / Blog Front Page News

BikeNews Front Page

Good Morning, Minneapolis: NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride 2014

ncsl bipartisan bike ride 2014 ellis robinIt all started in 2005 when Texas Senator Rodney Ellis, inspired by the success of the Sine Die Bipartisan Bike Ride, came to BikeTexas Executive Director Robin Stallings with an idea: Why not do the same kind of ride for legislators at NCSL as BikeTexas already does for Texas legislators?

BikeTexas jumped at the chance and a tradition was born. With local support from the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (now WashBike), we put on the ride for a dozen legislators and their families who were attending the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL). Word spread quickly and the ride grew year by year to 2014 numbers: Over 150 legislators, their families, and their staff joined BikeTexas and BikeMN staff and volunteers on Friday, August 22, for the 10th NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride.

Legislative hosts for the ride were:
Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
President of the Minnesota Senate Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul)
Minnesota Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Vernon Center)
Minnesota Sen. David Senjem (R-Rochester)
Texas Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving)
Minnesota Sen. Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis)

ncsl bipartisan bike ride 2014 groupThe ride was sponsored by Walmart, BNSF Railway, General Mills, Primal Wear, People for Bikes, Quality Bicycle Products, Siemens, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The Bipartisan Bike Ride is a great way to let lawmakers see firsthand what it’s like to ride a bike through a city, which translates to states taking greater steps forward to make their state bike friendly.

The bike ride is always held early in the morning to give participants a jump on the day and let them see the sights of the NCSL host city in the best way possible-- from the seat of a bicycle. This year’s ride was about 10 miles at an easy pace through Minneapolis landmarks including Cedar Lake Trail, Stone Arch Bridge, the University of Minnesota campus, Hiawatha Bike Trail, and Midtown Bike Center. Minneapolis PD and EMS provided police escorts and EMT backup. BikeMN, whose great work in Minnesota has played a key role in its consistently being one of the best bicycling states in the U.S., partnered with us to showcase their city and its fantastic bicycling facilities. Staff and volunteers get up around 2 AM the day of the ride to get everyone safely rolling by 6:30.

ncsl bipartisan bike ride 2014 happy riderThe best compliment the ride could possibly receive came from a participant from Arizona, who said, “I rode a bike ride for my first time this past week at NCSL and it was amazing! I was worried I could not make that long of a ride, and concerned with riding on the street. All of my concerns disappeared about 1/4 of a way into the ride. It was amazing! … Ongoing, I will definitely start riding in my own town!!”

Next year, the NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride rolls back to its roots when the conference goes to Seattle. We can’t wait.

See more photos from the ride on the BikeTexas Flickr account.

 

A Great Day Out at Camp: BikeTexas KidsKup at Camp Eagle Classic

kidskup camp eagle 2014-5The drive from Austin to Rocksprings sometimes feels a little long to the staff who head out there every year for the BikeTexas KidsKup at the Camp Eagle Classic, but it's always worth it.

Camp Eagle Classic Mountain Bike Festival presented by Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Richardson Bike Mart, and Hill Country Bicycle Works attracts over 1200 people for a weekend of family fun, relaxation, and bike racing. Many families use Camp Eagle Classic weekend as a last hurrah for their summer before the daily crunch of school and fall activities pulls them too far in.

The Camp Eagle Classic crowd always enjoys the BikeTexas KidsKup. About 40 young riders brought their bikes and their parents to the start line to take part in the racing fun, and walked away with big smiles and our new KidsKup ribbons to show off that they finished the course. Check out more pictures on our Facebook page.

There are still three KidsKup events left this fall! Don't miss out-- join us at one of these events:

 

 

kidskup camp eagle 2014-1

Bicycles Outback Blowout - Registration available now!

Sept. 6, 2014

Waco, TX

 

Tyler Speedwaves - Registration opens September 8

Sept 13, 2014

Tyler, TX

 

Dave Boyd Huntsville Classic - Registration opens September 15

Oct. 11, 2014

Huntsville, TX

   

Try to Remember a Kind of September

tbt gayle sept 2003 biketexas

For our first-ever Throwback Thursday post, we dug through our archives to find September activities from years past at BikeTexas. (Title of the post is inspired by the song "Try to Remember" from the musical The Fantasticks.)

 

September is a great month for education! BikeTexas has attended the SRTS National Conference, trained teachers with the help of LCIs, planned massive training events, and provided training to teachers in the entire Houston ISD.

BikeTexas reflected on the success of our partner and event member Hotter'n Hell Hundred in 2005.

In 2005, BikeTexas (then the Texas Bicycle Coalition) joined forces with nonprofits across the nation to offer relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

We moved to our current location in September of 2006, and made some improvements to the building over the next couple of years.

BikeTexas' Annual Membership Meeting has historically been in August or September (The 2014 meeting is coming up quick-- register now!), which means meeting reports through the Septembers. Read about: 2008 | 2009 | 2013

In 2008, the League of American Bicyclists released their first Bicycle Friendly State ranking. Texas came in at #30 that year. (We've since been as high as #22, but in 2014 we've dropped back down to #33.)

Dallas installed bike racks on all its buses starting in September of 2008.

Our friends at REI invited us to the opening of their Round Rock store in September 2008.

Austin City Limits Music Festival attendees got a bit creative with bike parking in 2008.

San Antonio's B-cycle program won an award in 2011.

On a sad note, we lost David Boyd in September of 2008 and Iris Stagner in September of 2012. Both have memorial funds at BikeTexas.

tbt sept newsletter 1998 biketexasSeptember is also a great month for bike/ped funding! Trails funding in Texas was saved in 2012 and the TTC funded multiple projects around the state in 2013.

El Paso worked hard to get a bike share program off the ground in 2013.

And finally, the BikeTexas partnership with Brownsville is one year old.

 

Photos: Top-- Former BikeTexas director Gayle Stallings with her new bike trailer outside the previous BikeTexas office in September 2003; bottom-- the August/September 1998 edition of the BikeTexas newsletter.

 
 

International Walk to School Day is October 8

Wednesday, 03 September 2014 09:37

walking school bus biketexas bicycle education with logoSchool has started, students and teachers are getting to know one another, and your family is starting to get into the schoolday routine. Now's a great time to start planning your trip to school for International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 8.

A great first step is to check out the Texas page and see if your school has registered for an event yet. If not, take action! Contact your school and ask them to organize a Walk to School Day event. We have plenty of resources to help you out on our Educational Resources page, including the Safe Routes to School Event Handbook. Print out the Team Leader Checklist (PDF download) and take it with you so your school has a step-by-step list of things to do to get ready for lots of walking!

Get your neighborhood organized! Talk to other parents to set up a Walking School Bus for your children to walk together. Remember: walking to school gives your child (and you!) tremendous health and mental benefits. Childhood obesity is on the rise across the US, and regular physical activity can help protect your child: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and adolescents. In addition to health benefits, studies have shown a link between children being active on their way to school and their ability to concentrate once they arrive.

brain slide

Walking to school just not the right fit for your family? You can still get in on the action! Consider an excellent suggestion shared on Streetsblog LA: if you can't walk the whole way, park five blocks from the school and walk the rest of the way in. Not only will you and your children still get the benefits of walking, but you'll also get those extra few mintues together without having to fight the crush of traffic in the drop-off line.

Don't delay! Make Walk to School Day 2014 a great day for students in Texas.

 
 

Friday Reading: Links You May Have Missed (Aug 29)

In case you missed it: Here are some links we thought were worth sharing this week. Happy reading!

 

san antonio siclovia

From BikeTexas:

New to public transit? Not sure what to do? We've got your back.

 

From around Texas:

A car wash in San Antonio is donating bikes & helmets to a local childrens shelter

Houston is working to make streets better for everyone...

... including plans for its very first protected bike lane.

And Austin passes a cell phone ordinance for drivers and people on bikes

 

From elsewhere:

How to solve the sidewalk-riding problem

700 cities' worth of bike mode share data 

File this under "unsurprised": walking, biking and taking public transit tied to lower weight 

Vancouver works hard to keep families from leaving 

Modacity talks about cycling giving mobility when it hurts to walk

Riding & walking with a baby from StreetsBlog LA

Breathe easier, get there faster by bike 

Bike share rebalancing is serious research

Active transportation can make a city more affordable

 
 

Walk, Roll, and Ride: Guide to Using Public Transportation

juliana locking upMany students will return to biking and walking for transportation when they start college. One form of active transportation that may be new to students, though, is using the local public transportation system to get around. For students and non-students alike, using a city bus or train for the first time can be an intimidating hurdle. Our communications staffer Susan Wilcox, who rides both a bike and a bus for transportation, wrote a guide a few years ago for people who are new to riding buses. This article is an updated version of that guide.

Skip to:

1. Do Your Research

2. Bring a Bike

3. Pay Your Fare

4. Onboard Etiquette

5. Signal Your Stop

6. Heading Home

 

1. Do Your Research

When you start using a new-to-you transit system, planning is a must. Check out your local transit system's website for routes, maps, and schedules--many systems also have built-in trip planners on their websites. It's often a good idea to have a Plan B just in case things go wrong with your first plan. Make sure to find out how much your fare will be while you're checking the schedule!

google maps using transit Most transit systems in the U.S. have shared their data with Google. If that is the case in your area, go to maps.google.com, put in your starting point and destination, and choose the transit button (see the picture at the right). Google will give you a few options to get where you're going, based on local transit data. 

For students, you often will get free or discounted transit rates with your student ID. Check with your college or university's transportation department to find out if your ID is your pass or if you need to get a different one, what services your ID covers, and so on.

At least two systems in Texas-- DART in Dallas and CapMetro in Austin-- have downloadable apps for all your devices to make planning your trip easier.

Once you arrive at the stop, be sure to look for the bus number above the front windshield before you board-- nothing ruins a transit trip faster than getting on the wrong bus.

 

first capmetro bike rack austin texas 2. Bring a Bike

Yes, you can combine a bus (or train) and bike trip! We're proud that all train systems in Texas have on-board bicycle accommodation, and most buses have bike racks on the front capable of carrying two or three bikes.

Photo: from our archives, Austin's-- and Texas's!-- first bike rack on a bus, sometime in the mid-'90s.

How to use the bike rack: 

  • First, be sure the driver sees that you are about to load a bike on the bike rack.
  • If the rack is already open, just load your bike in a open spot. Be sure to put the front wheel in the slot designated for the front wheel. If the rack is folded against the the bus, squeeze the handle to release the rack and lower it down. Put your bike in the slot nearest the bus.
  • Many racks have an arm with a hook on the end. Pull this arm out and over the front wheel. Instead of the arm, your bus may have a U-shaped loop for the front tire-- rotate this around until the sides of the loop are around your tire and the top of the loop is resting against it.
  • loading a bike on a busIf you have anything loose on your bike, like a water bottle or your helmet over the handlebar, remove those and carry them on board with you.
  • If you have panniers on your bike, the driver may ask you to remove them and bring them on board if they obscure the driver's line of sight. For buses with 3-place bike racks, you should remove the panniers before loading, because the slots are too close together to allow space for panniers. Be sure you can quickly remove your panniers, if needed, before you head to the bus stop.
  • Board the bus! When it's time to get off, tell the driver you're getting your bike, exit through the front door, and reverse the process. If your bike is the last one off the rack, squeeze the handle again and fold the rack up against the front of the bus.
  • Having a hard time visualizing these steps? Not to worry, CapMetro in Austin put together a handy video for their MetroRapid buses that will show you everything you need to know.

What if the bike rack is full? Sorry, you'll have to wait for the next bus. This scenario is one reason you should always have a backup plan or an alternate route in mind so you don't get stuck, especially if you're taking a popular route.

On a train:

Look for the bicycle accommodation space and load your bike there. If the space is full or you're not comfortable using it, you'll have to stand holding your bike. Use good sense and common courtesy when boarding a full train or traveling during peak hours-- there may not be room for your bicycle on board.

 

3. Pay Your Fare

Finding out the fare for your journey should be part of your planning stage, but if you forget, the driver will tell you. You will need exact change on the bus (or you can pay with an app in Dallas or Austin). Basically, it's like a vending machine: bills and coins go in the appropriate slots. If you have a pass, you should swipe it on the farebox before taking your seat. Buying a pass onboard? Don't forget to take it with you when you take your seat.

Please note that most transit systems have rules that prohibit the driver from handling fares, so he or she will not be able to take your money or swipe your card for you. However, they will be able to answer questions if you're having trouble.

 

4. Onboard Etiquette

Seats near the front of bus or train car are reserved for the elderly, people with disabilities, or people with small children (many transit systems require that children under 6 be seated instead of standing). If you do not fall into one of those categories but choose to sit in one of these priority areas, please be prepared to vacate the seat if someone should need it.

If you stand, be sure you have something to hold on to so you don't fall over on top of your neighbor if the bus should suddenly slow down.

Generally speaking, food and drink are not permitted on board most transit vehicles. Save your sandwich for when you arrive and don't try to bring a fast food cup with you-- the driver will ask you to throw it away before boarding. No one likes a crumby, sticky bus.

Finally, remember that your backpack or grocery bags don't really need a seat, but other humans do-- be courteous with your things.

 

5. Signal Your Stop

When you first start riding with a new transit system, be sure to take a few moments once you're on board to look around and find out what the signaler is. It will usually be a cord or a button. A couple of blocks ahead of your stop, pull the cord (or press the button) to signal your stop. Exit through the door nearest you (unless you're getting your bike off the rack-- in that case, use the front door). Be sure to look around as you're getting ready to exit the vehicle to make sure you have all your belongings with you. And thank the driver as you exit-- it makes you feel good and may just brighten their day.

 

6. Heading Home

Gather info about the return trip as part of your research-- find out when the bus is expected, where you should catch it, and so on. Repeat all the previous steps again, and then congratulate yourself on a successful transit trip!

 

Happy riding!

 
 

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