Monthly Archives: January 2016

Copenhagen: The City of Cycling

Haven’t you heard? Copenhagen has pedaled its way back to the title of ‘World’s Best Cycle City.’

 

The award shouldn’t be surprising. Every morning around 7am, the streets of Copenhagen burst into action. People from all walks of life – from men in business suits to fashionistas in their favorite stilettos – hop on their bike and head off about their day. Cycling is ingrained in the hearts, minds, and culture of the people of Copenhagen, regardless of age or occupation. In Copenhagen proper alone, there are 650,000 bikes, 48,000 bike racks, and 429 kilometers of path dedicated to cyclists.

 

As if that wasn’t enough, the Copenhagen administration has recently added even more dedicated bicycle lanes and paths: the appropriately named Cycle Super Highway. This bikers-only expressway – the country’s first – connects central Copenhagen to the suburban town Albertslund, roughly 20 km outside the city.

 

To get an idea of just how popular cycling is in the “Bike Capital of the World”, check out these statistics: 55% of the population rides to work or school every day, meaning that there are more bike commuters in the tiny city of Copenhagen every day than there are in the entire United States.

 

How Denmark Became the Biking Nation

Not long after James Starley introduced the bicycle as we know it – called the ‘Baton Bike’ – in 1885, the streets of Copenhagen were dominated by riders of all types. Middleclass mothers rode their bikes to and from the grocery store, while high-powered bank Directors cruised home from a long day in the office.

Surprisingly, bicycles were almost dethroned as the most popular mode of transportation in the early 1960’s. Automobiles were constantly improving, and many individuals viewed them as a symbol of status and wealth – an unusual display for the inherently-humble citizens of Denmark. The ever-improving standard of living across the small nation contributed to an increase demand in automobiles, seriously threatening the bicycle culture that had once been so prevalent.

A severe oil crisis – coupled with an environmental movement and several controversial road projects – stopped the car craze from gaining too much momentum. In the 1970’s, ‘Car Free Sundays’ were introduced with great enthusiasm. Cyclists rode the streets constantly, lobbying for a car free city. Eventually, many Copenhageners would follow suit, thrusting bicycles back into the top spot as the best preferred method of transportation.

Why Choose a Bike?

While choosing a cycle as the primary means of transportation is environmentally intelligent, the people of Copenhagen love their bikes for different reasons altogether. According to a recent poll conducted by IceBike, 56% of cyclists choose to bike because it is the fastest way to get around, thanks to the countless cycling lanes and bike paths throughout the city. In addition, 29% of riders stated that it was the most cost-efficient way to get around. This is a no brainer, especially when wildly-fluctuating gasoline prices are taken into consideration.

Lastly, the people of Copenhagen choose to cycle every day because their city is an extremely safe place to do so. In 2014, there were only 9 traffic-related fatalities in the city – a staggeringly low figure when compared with New York City, which reported over 250 traffic-related fatalities in the same year.

There’s just no denying it: cycling is the most convenient option for the eternally-happy citizens of Copenhagen. It only takes a few seconds to get going, and bikes can be parked virtually anywhere – especially with the tens of thousands of public racks available across the city.

Essential Winter Cycling Gear

Just because temperatures are going down and ice and snow is becoming the new landscape for the roads it doesn’t mean cycling has to cease. Instead it’s easier than ever to be prepared in the winter and continue cycling all year round.  As long a cyclist has the right winter gear they can make the most out of the winter months, while staying safe and efficient.

Bike Accessories

Biking in the winter can be an enjoyable experience and a safe one at that as well. First off the bike is going to need to some additional tools on it to be able to maneuver through the wintery weather. A fender will prevent any snow and we slush from bouncing up and hitting your clothes and body. During the winter it gets darker than usual and a good headlight is an indispensable tool to be used. It’s best to have a headlight in both the front and back of the bike. This does a number of tasks. It helps the cyclist see in front of them and alerts other bikers and vehicles of their passing and location.

It is also a good idea to make sure the bike has a good set of tires on them that is going to be able to weather the harsh temperatures that can mess with internal tire pressure and hold up against the ice, salt, and slippery surfaces it will be riding on.

Clothing & More

It is important to layer up during the winter. Having more clothes on is going to be essential if the bike breaks down or being out in the cold for an extended period of time. At faster speeds the wind is going to be hitting the biker harder and make the feeling of the cold speed up.

A bike helmet is essential, as it will supplement a hat underneath the helmet, providing a warming effect. A good hat to choose from would be a skullcap that will prevent any heat loss that may occur. Normal jackets and pants are not going to do. They have to be waterproof to ensure dryness during the entirety of the trip. Lightweight jackets come in handy for speed as well to not be weight down too much.

Gloves and shoe covers add layers that will keep hands and feet warm and stop any risk of going numb in the cold weather. Add a good pair of goggles to this and a cyclist will be the hardiest of the winter riders.

The most important aspect of riding in the winter is truly safety. Staying hydrated is a top concern, even though the body is trying to not freeze it is imperative to get some water, especially on the longer rides. Be cautious of any routes that may have some broken road, including potholes and debris spread around. Plan out the route and make sure to have the items to necessary to survive out in the cold or the communication to get home in a warm place in a timely matter.  After all of this is taken care of, enjoy the winter ride.

Ohio National Bike Route

Recent developments have come about a large new cycling network in the nation and even the world. This spreads through Ohio as well which will be an integral part of this new national bike route.

The Route Corridor will become one of the largest cycling routes in the nation and in the world. The route will be placed right on Ohio State Route 534. Everyone involved with the project and the community surrounding it will have some input to the process as well.

Someone involved with the proceedings said that  “Now is the time for the community to discuss how to best create a safe, enjoyable bike path that encourages physical activity and exploration of the many destinations within the Route 534 Corridor, We’re hoping to get local people’s ideas and make them part of the process.”

Funding & Regulations

There have been a lot of funding opportunities for the project available through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. One leader of the project said “If we go for grants, they’ll want to know if the public was informed and their ideas were noted. That’s why we’re inviting local teachers, school board members and government officials to get involved and come to the meeting. We need input.”

Many people are getting excited about this and putting in their input because it is going to evoke a different kind of experience for looking at these beautiful natural destinations.

There will be over 50,000 miles of routes spread out all around the country and this is going to create a lot of growth in different areas. Not only will this be excellent for people who are involved in cycling. It will also affect the local businesses grow around the area. Cycling brings in more people to local towns and will help some smaller economies of these towns flourish.

The cyclists who will be using this route are both riders who take this hobby very seriously and tourists as well. Along the way they will stop at restaurants and hotels. Meanwhile they will spend at stores and need other resources like bike repair and riding gear along the way.

The Goals

The goals for these endavouer is to get as much community involvement and input as possible. For these meetings people will be able to write comments about new bike lanes and sidewalk routes being developed and view the maps of the current plans. They will also get to hear about any potential barriers there may be in regards to setting up some of the routes.  

Organizers of the meetings will be able to answer any questions that may arise as well.  This plan will be a great new ordeal for cyclists around the Ohio area and spreading out to the rest of the country. It is good that this type of excitement is gathered for creating these types of routes because it will serve the communities and help bring cycling to the forefront for some of the issues of the state.

Fort4Fitness Adds 100K Cycling to Spring Event

For4Fitness Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, that is committed to promoting healthy living and fitness in Northeast Indiana. So how does this organization help bicycle enthusiasts in the state of Ohio? Fort4Fitness has events that take place in both the fall and spring. This year’s Spring Cycle is the biggest cycling event, and will actually run from Indiana, cross Ohio state lines to get to the mid-point in Antwerp, Ohio and return back to Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is going to be a huge event, which will attract a large crowd across both states, as well as a lot of bicyclists, ready to race.

 

A look at Spring Cycle

The organization announced that in addition to adding a full marathon to their fall running event, they would also add a 100 kilometer race to their spring cycling event. This year’s official Spring Cycle will begin on Main Street in Downtown Fort Wayne in front of the Arts United Center. The race will take place on Saturday, May 21st and will offer different distances. There will be a 10 mile, 16, miles, 34 mile, 44 mile, and 62 mile (the 100K). The 100k Metric Century will cross the Ohio state line, stop at the designated mid-point, and return back to the Cinema Theater in Fort Wayne. Upon completion of the Spring Cycle, cyclists will be able to indulge in a post race refreshment and take part in a festive downtown atmosphere, filled with racers, family, and friends.

 

Why the addition of a 100K?

Fort4Fitness has always had a goal of catering to what participants want. Carrie Reeb, the Director of Marketing and Community Relations, said that they began by adding multi-race options for runners, so that participants can set new goals for each race. The addition of a multi distance cycling race offers the same thing for bicyclists. It also gives people an option to compete in both a run and bicycling race, as many health enthusiasts have a goal of completing an Ironman, which involves running, biking, and swimming.

 

How to sign up for the race

Registration for the Fall Festival and Spring Cycle began on January 1st and will officially close on May 18th. Up until May 2nd, adults can pay just $20 for the event, and children under 14 will pay $10. From May 2nd to May 18th, you will pay a larger fee, so it is best to sign up early. When you register online, you will pick which distance you plan to complete during the race. All who register will also receive an official t-shirt. Individuals can register online by visiting the Fort4Fitness registration page found here.

 

Race organizers say the addition of these two events is just the beginning of things to come. There are still things the organization is working on, but they hope to add more events in 2017. Fort Wayne isn’t a far distance to travel if you live in the Western part of Ohio. We will keep you updated on further cycling events throughout the state of Ohio.

42 mile Cycling Super Highway Announced in Cincinnati

Bicyclists in the Cincinnati region will be excited to hear about plans to develop a 42 miles cycling super highway. Four separate groups were working on their own major trail projects, and decided to collaborate to create one huge trail. The biking trail will be a 42 mile , continuous path known as a “off-road super highway” which will cater to non-motorists.

 

Plans unveiled in December

Plans for the new super highway were announced in December. Leaders showcased their plan for Cincinnati Connects, which was underwritten by Interact for Health. The four leaders coming together to build one trail include Mill Creek Greenway Trail, Ohio River West Trail, Oasis, and Wasson Way projects. Although a great spot for bicyclists, the trail will also be made available to pedestrians, and people using wheelchairs. Robin Corathers has played a huge role in the development of Cincinnati Connects, acting as the project manager and Groundwork Cincinnati/ Mill Creek Executive Director. She said that the urban trail loop could make Cincinnati one of the top pedestrian and bicycle communities in the entire country.

 

What the trail will be used for

The 42 mile trail is created with the people of the city in mind. It would provide individuals a transportation alternative. Pedestrians and bicyclists would have a safe and accessible route for travel every day, making it easy for people of all ages, incomes and abilities to access. The path would connect 32 of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods, with the hopes to connect with other trail systems across Hamilton County and the Tri-state region. From end to end, the entire loop would extend from Mill Creek on the West side to Armleder Park on the East side. Looking at the big picture, the city hopes that in creating this path, they will see improvement in air quality, emissions, and traffic congestion. Inspiring many others to get some cash for car title, and get themselves a non-motorist way of transportation.

 

Costs to get the project started

Corathers said that this project was 15 months in the making, and took careful technical work and planning. It will cost around $21 million to construct the six connector trails for the 42 mile path. The University of Cincinnati Economics Center developed a benefits-cost analysis to determine that the return on investment would be around $43.5 million. The next stop in project planning is to collaborate with city leaders to develop a detailed implementation strategy. The team will have to figure out who in the community can be stakeholders for the project. Funding for the project needs to be community-wide, as Corathers said 100 percent of the funding cannot come from City Council. Funding is also possible if they can get a state or federal grant. Corathers believes they have a good shot with the Clean Ohio Trail Fund program, who awarded $500,000 to the Wasson Way project. The Ohio River Trail West also received funds through a federal Congestion Mitigation/ Air Quality grant. Since they are combining forces to create one super highway trail, there are definite opportunities out there for grants to help fund the project.