Sunday, August 28, 2016

Biking Way Off The Main Roads

Around noon, I braved the mid-day heat and drove with the Pugsley to a side road off State Road 16 about about 15 miles inland west of Vero Beach.

There, I parked my car near an informal parking area off County Road 512 and began pedaling on a paved service road behind a metal bar.

What a bird paradise!

I marveled at the soaring great blue herons that flapped its mighty huge wings along an adjacent waterway.

There were smaller herons and egrets. And of course, the ospreys. Nearby is Blue Cypress Lake, a gorgeous egg-shaped lake between SR 60, the Florida Turnpike and Fellsmere.

Take your bike off road . You won't be disappointed.

Sunday Is BicycleDay

Early Sunday morning is the bicyclist time.

This morning, I pedaled the Surly Pugsley out to the Atlantic Ocean, less than four miles from my house.

The rest of the week it's motorists on the road but on Sunday mornings bicyclists dominate the local pavement and it's a beautiful thing to see.

And with the Surly Pugsley, I can pedal on the beach at sunrise.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Richard Branson Says Bike Helmet Saved His Life

I have a handful of friends who don't wear bicycle helmets.

They feel they don't need one.

And they certainly don't want to be told that they are required to wear them to ride a bicycle.

In Florida, adults are not required by law to wear a bike helmet.

But Richard Branson, the big Virgin Airlines tycoon man-about-town, said a bike helmet saved his life when he crashed on his bicycle.

Here's Richard in his own words.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Oviedo Police Chief Breaks Out Common Refrain: You May Be Legally Correct But A Car Might Hit You Anyway

By now, you may have heard about the police officer in Oviedo, Fla. -- an Orlando area suburb -- who advised a bicyclist in the middle of a sub-standard lane to move over to the side or ride on the sidewalk.

Well, the bicyclist said, no way, and cited the statute that allowed him to be in the traffic lane when the lane is too narrow for a car and a bicycle to be side-by-side in the traffic lane. The Orlando Weekly did a nice job wrapping up the case.

There were other TV and news reports on the case and I contacted the police chief in that city to please advise his officers to know the latest in bicycle safety and to even check out CyclingSavvy for the best practices in vehicular bicycling.

Oviedo Police Chief Jeffrey Chudnow and I exchanged several polite emails and his last one included this particular line that I have heard from other police as well:

"I have seen too many bicyclist, who may be legally correct, end up on the worse end of a vehicle/bicycle crash."

He's basically saying, sure, follow the law, but I think you're going to get whacked by a car anyway.

How about educating motorists from the get-go about respecting the road rights of bicyclists and teaching drivers of motorized vehicles to slow down, not mess with cell phones and to be patient on the road and crack down on motorists who don't comply.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Again, A Police Officer Does Not Know That A Bicyclist Can Take A Narrow Traffic Lane

I cringe every time I hear a police officer tell a bicyclist who is lawfully pedaling in a lane to move to the side or bike on the sidewalk.

My major pet peeve about motorists in Florida is that many do not understand or the know the law that permits bicyclists to take the entire lane if that lane is too narrow for a car to safely pass the bicyclist within the width of that lane.

CyclingSavvy is an excellent bike education program that explains this concept.

This issue surfaced once again when a police officer in the city of Oviedo in Seminole County incorrectly told a bicyclist to move his position from the lane.

The bicyclist said he was lawfully in the lane and that he would not bike on the sidewalk.

This verbal exchange was the topic of a TV news report.

And here's another great news nugget too.

I wrote a letter to the city of Oviedo about the law and I hope you do too. Here are the email addresses to the police, mayor and other city officials.


The police chief responded promptly to me email and I'm sharing his response:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

NFL Writer Brags About His Driver Using Bike Lane; Thinks It's A Big Joke

Yesterday, I suggested that bicyclists thank courteous motorists for great passes and their patience.

But when a selfish moron pulls a bullshit move like this, you have to call him out..

NFL writer Peter King posted this photo on Twitter, bragging that he was able to get his driver to drive in the bike lane to get to the San Diego Chargers' football stadium.

Well, Deadspin wrote all about the fallout here -- and the Twitter responses were not pretty.

Just so you understand -- never drive a motorized vehicle in a bike lane.

Even the San Diego Police weighed in with a Twitter post to advise King that it's not a good idea.

Monday, August 22, 2016

11 Florida Bicycle Stores On NBDA List Of America's Best Bike Shops

Well, it's that special time of the year when the National Bicycle Dealers Association releases its annual "America's Best Bike Shops."

It's an impressive list, with criteria including a store application plus an assessment by a "secret shopper."

Here are the Florida shops on the list:

-- Acme Bicycle Shop in Punta Gorda (last four years)

-- Bicycle Center in Port Charlotte (last three years)

-- Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater -- congrats to the Jessups, once again (last three years)

-- Full Circle Cycle in Orlando (first time in four years)

-- LakeShore Bicycles in Jacksonville (last four years)

-- Mack Cycle & Fitness in Miami (last four years)

-- Road & Trail Bicycles in Lakeland (first time in four years)

-- Ryder Bikes in Bradenton (last four years)

-- The Hub Cycling in Port Orange (first time in four years)

-- Trek Bicycle Store in Estero (last four years)

-- Winter Garden Wheel Works in Winter garden (last four years)

As the former bike advocacy director for a group of Tampa Bay bike shops, I can tell you there are great bicycle stores doing great work and adding to the community that are not on the list.

For example, Randy Myhre of Oliver's Cycle Sports in New Tampa, Rick Fidanzato of ABC Bicycles in St. Petersburg and Adam Beland of Bicycle Outfitters in Seminole are just three bike shop owners deeply committed to furthering bicycling in their communities and who run great bike shops. There are many others too -- like Dave Sanborn who owns a slew of Trek bike shops around central Florida.

Here is the complete list.

We're Quick To Squawk About Crappy Motorists But We Also Need To Thank The Good Motorists Too

It's become my morning, pre-work, post-sunrise bike ride -- a 37-mile loop down the mainland side of the Intracoastal from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce, then a cross of the drawbridge to north Fort Pierce Beach and back to Vero on A1A.

It's a great ride, and one of the reasons it's an enjoyable trek is that most motorists are considerate and pass me with a safe berth.

We bicyclists are quick to yell when a motorist buzzes us. And we're familiar with the videos showing the outraged bicyclist pulling next to motorists and informing them that they came perilously close to hitting them. And sometimes verbal fireworks ensue.

But I have started to thank drivers of motorized vehicles when they slow down and do a great pass to go around me. I know -- they're supposed to drive that way. But a little positive reinforcement and friendly PR can go a long way.

Just last Thursday, a WastePro garbage truck driver patiently drove his vehicle behind me on a narrow lane on the Fort Pierce drawbridge before safely passing me with a nice pass of at least 10 feet once we got off the bridge and continued our way along A1A.

I saw that he had pulled over to collect garbage at the historic Little Jim bait shop, so I pulled over to personally thank him and make that one-on-one connection that gives us a smile and reinforces and spreads the friendly road behavior.

"Thank you man. I just wanted to thank you for being patient behind me on the bridge and doing a great pass to go around me," I told the driver.

He broke out with a big smile and said, "No problem!"

"Thanks man. A lot of drivers honk their horns and pass close but I really appreciated your driving," I added.

"No problem" was his reaction, again.

"See ya man -- have a great day." I finished.

And once again, those same two words: "No problem," capped with a broad smile.

It happened this morning.

A St. Lucie County public works truck pulling a trailer with a lawn mower passed me on northbound A1A in north Fort Pierce and he gave me a huge, wide pass, motoring along in the oncoming lane to pass me when there was not a car in sight in the opposite lane.

About a mile up the road, the county public works employee had pulled over and I thanked him,

"That was a beautiful pass, my man. Thank you for your safe driving around bicyclists. I really appreciate it," I told him.

A smile broke out across his face and he said, "You're welcome and you be safe out there."

I will with motorists like these two fellas.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Calling All Wrenches! (No, Not Wenches)

It's the Wrench Olympics.

The organizers of the Interbike bicycle trade show in Vegas next month (Sept. 21-23) are staging a friendly competition for bike mechanics to test their skills of bike jobs like fixing flats.

It's officially called the "Interbike Mechanics Challenge" and it even has its own presenting sponsor, Park Tool.

The wrench competitors will do their tasks at four stations on the show floor at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, which is hosting the Interbike show in September.

Participants with the lowest times in the qualifying rounds will advance to the finals round. Supporting Sponsors include Hutchinson Tires, Finish Line, the NBDA, the PBMA and Innovative Timing.

Interbike VP Pat Hus said the mechanics better bring their A game.

"We felt strongly that this was the year to finally elevate the status of the bicycle mechanic in our industry, These often unsung heroes are at the core of what separates bike shops from online competition. Its only right that we celebrate what it is they do each and every day with some fun and challenging competition," Hus said.

Eric Lepping, a team mechanic and race management veteran for more than 30 years, will run the competition. Staffing and judging each challenge station will be members of the newly formed Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA). Each station will be timed by Innovative Timing Systems, who will keep track of individual times on leaderboard monitors throughout the event.

And check out the emcee -- none other than nine-time Tour de France racer and broadcast personality Frankie Andreu.

All Mechanics Challenge participants will receive commemorative swag upon completing the course from Interbike and the NBDA, while the top four will qualify for the finals.

Those Final Four will tackle a new course, in a head-to-head, non-timed heat, for the chance to win the grand prize that includes a PK-2 Professional Tool Kit from Park Tool, a 3-night hotel stay for Interbike 2017 and items from Finish Line Products, Hutchinson Tires and more. Not too shabby at all, my friends!

Mark the dates. Qualifying rounds will take place over two days on Wednesday, September 21 from 10-5pm and Thursday September 22, from 10-2pm. The finals will take place on Thursday from 3-5pm. Project Bike Tech will be hosting a Happy Hour upon the completion of the Finals on Thursday afternoon.

For you mechanics out there, a limited number of spots are available for wrenches who want to participate. More details on how to register can be found at

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are available for the Mechanics Challenge. For more information, please contact or 949-226-5745.