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News / Blog

BikeTexas BikeNews

Bikes + Literacy-- A Match Made in El Paso

BikeNews; Community

By Victor Cordero, Velo Paso

velo paso ride for reading biketexasFriday morning, January 16, 32° F (FREEZING!), 5:30 AM wakeup call, up and at ‘em!

Warmth & excitement flowed through my veins as we prepared for El Paso’s 2nd Ride for Reading event, in which almost 30 riders participated. Most of the riders were local, plus we had some spectacular out of town guests, including action sports writer and photographer Devon Balet from Montrose, Colorado, and professional mountain bike racers Katie Holden from Seattle, WA, and Dejay Birtch of Tucson, AZ.

Ride for Reading provides a way for donated books to be delivered to low-income elementary schools BY BICYCLE--promoting a healthy, safe, vibrant activity as well as literacy. Local cyclists are recruited for the deliveries and books are donated locally and by Better World Books through the Ride for Reading program. According to the Handbook of Early Literacy Research, the ratio of books per child in low-income neighborhoods is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Ride for Reading is working to change that.

The weather was a beautiful 50° and sunny by the time we arrived at Douglas elementary at 9 am. “This year we delivered 1400 books by bike to Douglass Elementary School in south El Paso,” Don Baumgardt, our local Ride for Reading organizer, member of Borderland Mountain Bike Association and founder of stated.

Half the books were donated by Better World Books, a national non-profit that regularly supplies books to Ride for Reading events. The other half of the books came from the El Paso-based non-profit Books are Gems, whose mission is to get free books in the hands of the children of El Paso. In addition to the books, each student received a certificate for one new and five used books from Books are Gems.

Each child receiving a book promised to pay attention in class, listen to their teachers, and to be respectful! All students pledged: “I promise to read my book twice. I will never ever throw my book away. I will pass it on to a friend, family member, neighbor, classmate or someone else I know. And I promise to be the best student for the rest of the year.”

The Borderland Mountain Bike Association organized the ride to kick off the weekend festivities for the Puzzler Mountain bike race that was held on January 18. Over 225 riders participated in the race with a 15-mile route, a 35-mile loop and a grueling 50-mile course with over 6,000 feet of vertical climb on some of the toughest single track in the state.


Photos courtesy of Victor Cordero.


News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Jan 23)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, January 23 2015 00:00

Looking for some weekend reading? Look no further than these links we thought were worth sharing this week: 


cyclists in suits 2013 biketexasFrom BikeTexas:

Register now for Cyclists in Suits - Texas' Bike Lobby Day on March 30! Visit your elected officials' offices and talk to them about what's important to you as a person who rides a bike. Don't miss out!


From around Texas:

TxDOT & TTI want to hear from you about transportation options in your neighborhood.

Irving police are looking for the hit-and-run driver who injured Sandy Dalton earlier this week.

People who ride bikes in El Paso delivered 1400 books to kids with Ride for Reading.

Laredo joins the list of Texas cities that are planning for bikes and pedestrians. 

And McAllen is about to join the list of Texas cities with bikeshare.

People who ride bikes in Lubbock are working toward a safer community to ride in.


From elsewhere: 

A world record falls-- students in Australia just rode the world's longest bike.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx calls on mayors around the country to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Speaking of Secretary Foxx, check out his Big Block of Cheese Day tweets.

File this one under "unbelievable": A man on a bike in Georgia was ticketed after being hit by a car. The citation? Cycling on the roadway. That's legal in Georgia, just like in Texas.

Also from the unbelievable department: A woman in Florida has been arrested after trying to scare a cyclist-- by shooting at him.

Finishing on a happier note: City planning software from CityEngine has options to add protected bike lanes and see what they'd look like on a 3D model.


Have a great weekend!

Photo: Strategizing before heading to a lege office at Cyclists in Suits 2013. See more Cyclists in Suits photos here.


News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Jan 16)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, January 16 2015 00:00

Looking for some weekend reading? Look no further than these links we thought were worth sharing this week: 


Doss Elementary Bike Rodeo bicycle education biketexas

From around Texas:

A stat it's time for Texas to lose: We lead the nation in drunk driving deaths.  

They've been stealing bikes around Texas, but they finally got caught. And speaking of bike thieves, Bicycling Magazine has some steps for you to take to increase the chances of your bike coming home if it is stolen.

Houstonites are concerned about the low number of Safe Passing citations that have been issued since the law went into effect.

A man has been arrested following a hit-and-run in Texas City last week.

Sugar Land and Missouri City have plans to add hike & bike trails.

A boy in Fort Worth learned the hard way how important it is to always lock your bike-- but Fort Worth police got the bike back.


From elsewhere:

Monday, January 19, is a fee-free day at all National Parks.

Some cities are designing their streets for people.

This pair of studies are a bit old, but still worth sharing: Despite perception to the contrary, an Australian study found that 7% of people on bikes ran red lights while the rest did not. Meanwhile, a survey of drivers found that two-thirds reported regularly driving faster than the posted speed limit. h/t Moz Le on Google+.

Cargo bikes are catching on worldwide, including at UPS.

One Oregon mom lost her bike to theft, and used that moment to propel her children's school to an even bigger bicycling program.

A Portland startup is working on an affordable way for cities to get accurate bicycle counts.

A city in Florida is removing a road diet, but it's not all bad news.

Londoners who live near more greenery are prescribed fewer antidepressants.


Photo: Texas elementary school students learning about bike safety.


Have a great weekend!


Throwback Thursday: January is here, with eyes that keenly glow

BikeNews; Community

Join us on a look back at January at BikeTexas. Article title is a quote from American novelist Edgar Fawcett. (And also a teeny tiny shoutout to the BikeTexas logo, which has eyes in the bike wheels.)


advocate tbc newsletter 1995 biketexas

In 2006, BikeTexas celebrated with the Girl Scouts of Amarillo when they bought property for Scouts' use that included bicycle facilities.

Also in '06, we teamed up with four other local groups to encourage Austin City Council to put bonds on the city ballot for bicycle facilities.

TxDOT's San Antonio district asked people who ride bikes for their input on different kinds of pavement in 2006.

PE teachers in Amarillo took a staff development day to learn more about Safe Routes to School in 2007.

In 2008, BikeTexas staff went to the Texas Trails Network Conference (the precursor to the Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference we now co-sponsor). 

A report came out in 2011, taking on the myth that roads pay for themselves.

The city of Beaumont became the sixth Texas Safe Passing city in 2011.

The Shifting Gears Policy Luncheon in 2011 featured former mayor of Bogatá, Enrique Peñalosa.

Doss Elementary kicked off their Boltage program in October 2011, and in January 2012 we checked in to see how it was going.

In 2013, we took the legislative interns on a bike ride before the session began.

Also in 2013, we introduced a popular guide about what all people who ride bikes can do to help bike-friendly legislation move right along. We'll be updating that for 2015 soon, so stay tuned!


Photo: From 20 years ago-- Texas Bicycle Coalition's bimonthly newsletter, The Advocate, from December '94/January '95. Some of our staff were still in high school. (Others... not so much.) Check out the bikes on the bus rack-- that was still a rarity in Texas then!


News By Bike: Links for You to Read (Jan 9)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, January 09 2015 11:45

Looking for some weekend reading? Look no further than these links we thought were worth sharing this week:


protected bike lane pittsburgh biketexasNew Year Motivation:

More like inspiration: John Estrada's (of Brownsville) journey to health began with a bike.

And another for good measure: Exercise may well be the fountain of youth.


From around Texas:

Bad news in Donna-- two teens on bikes were hit by an SUV earlier this week.

A&M researchers determine walkable communities are good.

It's been quite a week for bicycle-related editorials, as the Houston Chronicle calls for good street design to facilitate active transportation, and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal says the city being more bike-friendly would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, in North Texas: Denton hired a new bike and pedestrian coordinator! Welcome to Texas, Ms. Anderson!

A woman in Brownsville has been arrested for a December 23 hit-and-run involving a bicycle.

And a quick roundup of good news from Houston:


From elsewhere: 

Oklahoma City is considering a three-foot passing law-- but for people on bikes, not people in cars. 

Other cities, on the other hand, are increasing the amount of money they spend on bike/ped infrastructure.

An urban designer in Baltimore writes about 21 measures for pedestrian safety.

One insurance company has decided to offer rebates for exercise.

WashCycle takes on some of the common accusations people who ride bikes hear.

People for Bikes declares 2014 "The Year of the Protected Bike Lane"...

And Edinburgh Cycle Chic asks for 2015 to be the year of "Travel by Bicycle in Normal Clothes."


Have a great weekend!

Photo: Protected bike lane in Pittsburgh


News By Bike: Links You May Have Missed (Jan 2)

BikeNews; Community

Friday, January 02 2015 00:00

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


durwoodFrom BikeTexas:

Thanks for making 2014 a great year to ride a bike, y'all. Here's to a great 2015.


From around Texas:

Riding in the (Texas version of) winter: Some great cold-weather riding tips from Bikeable Dallas.

Two people who ride bikes in Dallas are looking for witnesses of their altercation with a motorist, to make sure he's charged with attacking them.

Fort Worth announced plans for the Trinity River Promenade, which looks great. Can't wait to ride it!

McAllen has announced plans for bikeshare (B-cycle, matching with the other four Texas bikeshare cities).

A new paved trail in San Angelo (set to open this year) has been a long time in coming, but a local columnist says it's worth waiting for.

Some leftover holiday cheer to warm the cockles of your heart: some Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students got new bikes a couple weeks ago.

Another bike/ped crossing over the Trinity River is coming to Dallas.

Brownsville is becoming more liveable for all ages-- including senior citizens.

And the Houston Chronicle calls for safer, walkable neighborhoods for all, too.

Abilene is growing, and so is its need to provide options for active transportation.

Brownsville police are looking for the driver in a hit-and-run involving a person on a bike.

A woman on a bike in Waco was hit by an SUV on Monday.

TxDOT is studying pedestrian safety (or rather, the lack of it) on a busy street in El Paso.

A greenway is coming soon to a bayou near you-- if you live in Houston, that is. But first, here's a fascinating look back at how people came to live near the Brays Bayou.


From elsewhere:

So far, Vision Zero is working for NYC.

We have a handful of languages among us on staff, but Dutch isn't one of them. As we understand it, this article is announcing that the heated bike path in Wageningen, Netherlands is doing well in its first winter, but they'll be making some tweaks to be sure the heat is distributed evenly.

Not just good for your health-- walking benefits your creative side, too.

Looking at data from exercise apps reveals some interesting patterns.

The AARP looks at safer streets for older Americans.

In case you missed all the previous memos: Walking is good for humans and good for cities, too.

People for Bikes takes on some common bike myths.

And BikePGH takes it one step further, with a guide to dealing with those myths at holiday dinners.


Have a great weekend!

Photo: Today's photo is for fun and has nothing to do with any of the links. It's our own Durwood Mayfield doing... something.


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