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What Does That Mean? Dictionary Day for Bike Advocates

bike corral biketexasOctober 16, Noah Webster's birthday, is World Dictionary Day. What better time to kick back and take a look at some of the words that are bandied about by bicycle advocates and people who ride bikes?


Bike Corral: a set of bike racks protected by curbs or other barricades. Frequently installed over one on-street car parking spot.


Cycletrack: also known as a protected bike lane or a separated bike lane. A bicycle-only lane that has some separation from traffic beyond just a stripe of paint (e.g., bollards, planters, parked cars, a curb, etc.). Can be one-way or two-way.


Modal split: also called mode share, mode split, or modal share. The percentage of travelers using a particular mode of transportation. For example, in the 2010 American Community Survey that we used for the BikeTexas 2012 Benchmark Study, Denton had the highest bicycling modal split in Texas at 1.5%. San Angelo had the highest walking modal split: 6.9%.


cycletrack biketexasPracticable: Texas state law requires that people on bikes ride as far to the right as "practicable," and also lists exceptions. The dictionary definition is "able to be done or put into practice successfully." Therefore, to allow for road conditions, we recommend allowing about a three-foot cushion between your tires and the edge of the road as the most practicable place to be, so that you can dodge debris, potholes, or other adverse road conditions that may arise.


sharrow city workers

Road diet: Changing the lane configuration on a street to allow for bicycle and pedestrian facilities to be installed. A road diet may shrink the size of the lanes, say from 12 feet wide to 10 feet wide, or it may require removing a travel or parking lane. (Travel lanes removed in a road diet are often replaced by a center turn lane to allow traffic to continue to flow.)


SAG: Generally considered to mean "support and gear," but there is some disagreement as to the origin of the term. Whatever it means, it's the support vehicle you'll see on a bike ride that may have supplies, carry your gear, help you out if you have a flat, or carry you home if it's just not your day.


Sharrows: A combination of "shared lane" and "arrow." Usually represented by a bicycle icon with arrows above it. The sharrow's position in the lane usually indicates where the bicycle should be-- roll right over the top of it.


See more definitions at


Photos, top to bottom: A new bike corral installed over one on-street parking space; a one-way cycletrack; city workers installing a sharrow.

See more cycletrack examples at


Member Spotlight: Lorn MacDougal

lorn macdougal with bike“When I walk, I miss the feeling of the wheels moving me through space.”

Lorn MacDougal—dancer/Pilates instructor, electric bike owner, Austin resident, and BikeTexas member—says she started riding a bike when she was a kid and never stopped. “I hope that parents will instill the skill and bravery in children to ride together as families so children grow up on their bikes.”

Lorn switched to an electric bike about three years ago to make it easier to get to all her teaching jobs. She and her husband share one car so they can save money for more fun things, like vacations. She’s ridden a bike in plenty of cities, including New York, London, and Amsterdam. “Fifty percent of our going to Amsterdam was so we could ride a bike for transportation,” she says.

Lorn supports BikeTexas because “we need all of the help we can get to get the message out to people that it is possible to bike in our car-centric country,” she says. “And BikeTexas working with TxDOT is an important function. We need TxDOT to see transportation as more than highways. If we can get more people on bikes it will make a dent in our traffic, at the same time as making two-wheeled transportation safer in numbers.”

In the ‘80s, Lorn and her husband Alain Le Razer were among the first artists to put film and dance together for the stage, touring internationally. Lorn and Alain continue to produce dance theater and films for Austin audiences.

“You don’t see many old ladies on bikes,” she says—Lorn is 65—“but the electric bike can help older people. It’s wonderful to see an older body that hasn’t exercised much really make progress. Even with an electric bike, you still get a cardio workout because you have to pedal. It’s a delicous way to move!”

Lorn likes the progress that has been made in Austin during her six years here to give people who walk or ride bikes dedicated space in our road network. But she also says there’s more work to do to make everyone be truly safe while riding, both elderly and young alike. “I’d love to see more schools benefit from buffered bike lanes like the ones on Bluebonnet Lane near Zilker Elementary,” she says. “Moms get stuck in cars all day when they could be taking their kids to school, lessons, and activites on bikes.”


Sponsor Spotlight: Capital Metro



Capital Metro Bicycle CollageAustin's own public transportation provider, Capital Metro, is the presenting sponsor for Austin BikeFest 2014. A longtime supporter of active transportation and last-mile connections, Capital Metro was the first pubic transportation system in Texas to provide bicycle accommodation on buses in the mid-90s, leading the way for other systems across Texas to follow suit. When Capital Metro first started planning for the Red Line, they agreed early on for the need for bicycle accommodation on board and at stations.

Capital Metro is a leader in fighting traffic congestion in Austin, especially recommending that visitors and residents alike take the bus during festivals and other major events that pass through Austin year-round.

We're delighted to have Capital Metro on board as Austin BikeFest's presenting sponsor. Consider Capital Metro for your BikeFest transportation needs-- the 350 and the 17 pass right by Govalle Park, while the 300 and the 4 also pass close by. Plan your Capital Metro trip to BikeFest here.

Not sure how to use the bike rack on the bus? Now's your chance to learn! Captial Metro will have a bus handy at BikeFest so you can try it out and get comfortable using it.


Photos, clockwise from upper left: Opening the Red Line Trail in 2013, Capital Metro logo, opening the first MetroBike Shelter in 2012, a bus user loading a bike on a Capital Metro bike rack


Bike Ride at 78th Annual Texas NAACP Convention

NAACP-Framed-Photo-El-Paso2014 marks the fifth year of a bike ride at the Annual Convention of the NAACP Texas State Conference. This year’s conference was in El Paso, so three BikeTexas staff plus 75 bicycles headed out on a Wednesday morning to get to El Paso in plenty of time for the Saturday ride.

The ride is sponsored by Texas NAACP and Walmart, and this year we had the added bonus of having VeloPaso staff and volunteers lending a hand. VeloPaso’s Victor Cordero and Scott White joined BikeTexas for a pre-ride to assess the best route for Saturday.

naacp texas state conference bike ride 2014 biketexas-2

The day of the ride dawned, but we were up long before the sun as BikeTexas, VeloPaso, and Crazy Cat Cyclery were already hard at work getting bikes ready for ride participants. By 7 AM, 60 riders were checked in, equipped with bikes and helmets, and ready to go!

After our usual safety briefing, the group took off for a ride through El Paso and Ft Bliss, including part of the historic officers housing--some of these old homes are on the National Registry of Historic buildings, dating back as far as the late 1800s. 

naacp texas state conference bike ride 2014 biketexas

The route also took us by one of the small parks on base, which houses a replica of the old original Fort Bliss. There were several rooms in the Replica that were outfitted with furnishings from the early 1800s. There was a replica of the wood working shop, the leather shop, and the blacksmith shop. From there, we rode to the historic Parade Ground, and then off base and back to the hotel where the participants were treated to some great coffee and snack bars.

The ride went perfectly smoothly with no problems! All of the participants raved about the route and the great scenery. We’re already looking forward to returning for the sixth NAACP Texas State Conference bike ride in 2015!



Friday Reading: Links You May Have Missed (Oct 10)

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


brio bus el paso bike storageFrom BikeTexas: 

Austin BikeFest presented by Capital Metro is coming up fast! Register now to enter to win a bike and other prizes.

Check out our Throwback Thursday post about Octobers past at BikeTexas


From around Texas:

El Paso is getting new bus service with bike parking on the inside

The driver who killed Eddie Arguelles in April was sentenced to 18 years in prison


From elsewhere: 

"Bikelash" has an upside 

Walking even part of the way to work could make you happier

An open-source solution to lack of bus signage 

Yet another awesome story about conquering physical limitations with a bike

The case for narrower traffic lanes 

There are still not a lot of people riding bikes to work in the U.S., and why some think advocates should stop talking so much about the work trip

What happens to your bike after it's stolen

Finally! Good news about obesity and diabetes rates in the U.S.

In the UK, a discussion about giving bikes away to fight obesity


Photo: Bicycle parking on the El Paso's new Brio bus service. Photo courtesy of Scott White via Twitter.

Have a great weekend!


Throwback Thursday: October is the Fallen Leaf

tour de fat 2004 biketexasFor this Throwback Thursday post, we'll look at October at BikeTexas through the years. Post title is from the Hal Borland quote “October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen."


In 2005, BikeTexas Member Event Texas Cycling Classic donated their proceeds to help children displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Austin became the first Texas city to enact a Safe Passing Ordinance on October 22, 2009. Since then, 24 other Texas cities have followed suit.

The first VIP bike ride at a Texas NAACP Convention was on October 9, 2010.

October is a good month for bike friendliness! We presented BikeTexas Champion awards to bike-friendly legislators Texas Senator Rodney Ellis and Texas Representative Linda Harper-Brown in 2011, and a year ago, Houston became Texas' fourth recognized Bicycle Friendly Community.

We celebrated in 2008 that TxDOT agreed to review seal coat processes statewide to make state roads better for people on bikes.

We've also had sad Octobers, with the losses of Byron de Sousa, Larry McQuien, and Greg and Alex Bruehler.

UT Health Fair Oct 2007October is a banner month for bike and walking education!

And finally, Dad and daughter find out how much fun it is to bike to and from school.


Photos-- Top: BikeTexas (Texas Bicycle Coalition) booth at Tour de Fat in October 2004; bottom: meeting students at a UT Austin health fair in October 2007.


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