Friday, April 30, 2010
May is here and it is NATIONAL BIKE MONTH!
May arrives on Saturday along with National Bike Month! Get that bike out of the garage, or basement, pump up the tires, check to make sure all is in proper working condition and RIDE to school, work, and all around Middletown! First and foremost it fun, but is is also good for your health, it's good for the environment, and with the price of gas on the rise again, it's a good way to save up for that big splurge at your favorite downtown restaurant. Rumor has it, 4 new bikes racks are headed to downtown, thanks to some funding supplied by our very own Pedal Power on Main St. Still no word if there will be bike parking at City Hall. Currently bikes can be found locked to the handrails of the handicapped ramp, not the best place to lock a bike but currently one of the only places.
Don't like to ride alone? Check out one of the links below to find others to ride with. Pedal Power sponsors both road (Mondays at 6:00) and mountain bike rides every week. There are slow riding recreational groups (8-12mph) with fewer hills, and a fast riding racing group(16-20 mph), with lots of hills, plus a couple of in-between speed groups. If you're looking for a nearby recreational ride on Wednesday night check out
Cycling Concepts in Rocky Hill. If you'd like to try a May Day 100k; head up to their Glastonbury location on Sunday, and choose between the 60 mile route and the 25 mile challenge. If you can't make the May Day 100k then put their ever popular Two Ferry Metric ride on your calender for September. This ride comes through Middletown before heading to the Chester Hadlyme Ferry then heads north to take the ferry from Glastonbury back to Rocky Hill. Another ride option is CT AMC group bike rides. One more locale option is to sign up for the Middletown Adult Education, Bicycle Ride Series (on Rail Trails) which starts May 8. The course provides you with a bike if you do not have your own, and meets 7 Saturdays throughout the summer.
If you just want to head out on your own, but need some ideas of where to ride check out Connecticut Bike Routes. The web site is a free service hosted by 3 CT based cycling enthusiasts. There are over 250 CT routes with a choice of mileage, terrain, and region. If that doesn't get you where you think you want to go, you can try the new Google Maps "by" bike which debut March 10 of this year. If you want to know more about the folks who cajoled google into offering the bike mapping go to Bike there' for a safer, healthy, happy world. I can't vouch for their bike mapping ability, it's too new.
Bicycle Friendly Community designation. The score was a paltry 3 out of 17. The first step in improving this score without bringing any cost to the city would be to create a Bicycle Advisory Committee, a step many, including myself
Final Report made the same recommendation in 2008. The first job of the committee would be to create a comprehensive bicycle plan for Middletown, followed by the creation of a map of suggested bike routes across town with links to the rest of the region. Other CT towns have bicycling advisory committees working to improve their town's bike culture, in doing so they have documented an increase in the numbers who bike and walk to work and school, they've also noticed less congestion and parking complaints. I'd like to see Middletown become the first town in CT to achieve the LAB Bike Friendly Community designation, or even the second or third; Simsbury, West Hartford, and Glastonbury even Hartford are way ahead of us, as are some of the Gold Coast Cities further south.
Bike to Work Week May, 17-21st, if you can't ride the whole week, then plan to ride on Friday the 21st on Bike to Work DAY along with thousands of others across the city, state and country. So dump the pump, and ride away. Hopefully by then the new bike racks will have been installed, and appointments made, and the first meeting held of Middletown's Bicycle Advisory Committee.
Ride of Silence will take place to honor those who have been injured or killed while riding on public roadways, and to bring attention to the need to SHARE THE ROAD. Middletown has participated in the past by having a short silent ride along River Road. We will do so again by meeting at 6:45 in Union Park for a 1/2 hour slow (under 8 miles an hour) procession down River Rd. in solidarity with these aims. All are welcome.
Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood has spoken out in favor of, and blogs often about his support for increasing funding for sidewalks, bikes, trains, streetcars and other common sense transiting options. In March, Congresman Blumenaur introduced H.R. 4722 the Active Community Transportation (ACT) of 2010. It's time for Middletown's politicians to join the fray and become more pro-active on multi-modal transiting options. Please join me in celebrating Bike Month in Middletown, with advocacy and planning for, a more bike friendly Middletown.
More to come during Bike Month.