What do you think of the WordPress layout? Header will change

So give me some headback – should we go for it?  Do you like it?  I haven’t quite figured out all the editing tricks to WordPress yet.  Looks like I’m suppose to pay $15 or something for a program to edit the layout to make it more custom.  That header is just a placeholder until we figure out something nice.

Where are these international NolaCycle.com visitors coming from?

So I’ve noticed in the last couple of days there have been a lot of visitors from Europe and some from South America on my blog. The “FEEDJIT” blog traffic widget I had on there didn’t tell me where you all were coming from (as in what website you visited before you visited here) because I thought that was a little silly and stalkerish, but now I’m curious. I mean, shoot, my project isn’t even done yet! I should be working on the map right now, but instead I’m being a lazy before I have to drive 4 hours to Detroit to pick up a sweeeet mountain bike (I’ll post pictures when I bring it home! Pictures of me tearin’ the horse trails at Mom & Dad’s).

So I upgraded to the fancier FEEDJIT blog traffic widget that will tell me what hip Europian bike blog is leading you to me. I think I’ll e-mail that blog author a virtual high-five for promoting my project!

Anyway, I’m really super super flattered that people around the world have now heard about NolaCycle!!!! A couple of month’s a ago a coworker told me he overheard someone mention my project at a wedding reception in Houston. I thought that was really awesome. I mean, Houston, shoot, that’s like 5 hours from New Orleans! But France, Peru, Sweden – that’s a way bigger deal than Texas (sorry Texas, but you’re really not exotic). Keep those international visits coming!

And if you’re planning a trip to New Orleans and were hoping my map was finished, you can still e-mail any of the team members – Lauren@nolacycle.com, Dan@nolacycle.com, Tom@nolacycle.com – and ask us for advice on getting around by bike.

Bicycle Rolling Stop Animation – Idaho Stop Law

Check out Urban Velo’s post about a new proposed bike law in Oregon based on a law that now exists in Idaho. It allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, so they don’t have to loose momentum by coming to a complete stop when the intersection is clear. But it does continue to make “flying through a stop sign” illegal and increases the fine.

In New Orleans, I’m pretty sure 95% of us already treat stop signs as yield signs, but there are a good 5% or so percent that don’t stop or yield – they just fly right through causing dangerous situations for themselves, drivers, and pedestrians. Perhaps legalizing rolling stops for cyclists and taking on a strong public advertising campaign to explain the law would help with the situation. Apparently, the rolling stop law has worked really well in Idaho and the state overall has a very good bike safety record.

Bicycle Rolling Stop Animation – Idaho Stop Law

Bicycles, Rolling Stops, and the Idaho Stop from Spencer Boomhower on Vimeo.

Tour de Lis ride raise money for cancer research/support – Saturday on the Lakefront

This Saturday, April 18th, the Tour de Lis ride is taking place on the New Orleans lakefront. If you haven’t heard about this ride before, it happens every year and is open to cyclists of all ages and ability levels. It’s not a race, but ride to raise money and awareness. Last year they raised $165,000 that went to organizations helping cancer victims and their families with treatment, fiancial assistance, support, education, and research.

Pre-registration closed today at 1 (sorry I didn’t post this sooner), but if you show up before the ride on Saturday, you can donate $50 to participate. Ride begins at 8 am and ends at noon.

Event Features

  • A ten-mile loop on picturesque New Orleans Lakeshore Drive
  • Police support
  • Food, snacks and beverages
  • Free bike support
  • Goody bags for riders
  • A New Orleans party atmosphere
  • Fundraising awards

Ride one loop, one hour, or the whole day– solo or on a team! Individual and team participation is encouraged as participants can ride the entire time, part of the time or recruit and have a team relay. It’s a ride for a cause – not a race.

Please Note:

  • No minimum fundraising required.
  • All donations are greatly appreciated.
  • All cyclists must be at least 12 years of age
  • All cyclists must wear a bike helmet
  • Baby seats and child carriers attached to bikes are not permitted
  • Tour de Lis begins and ends at 8000 Lakeshore Drive near Landry’s Restaurant

New Metro Bike Coalition Website – I’m super late updating our link!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, Metro Bike Coalition has a new website with a new website address – http://www.mbcnola.org

It’s all pretty, shiny, and new! Check it out and update your links/bookmarks!

Transport for NOLA – new transit advocacy group getting started in New Orleans

Straight from my e-mail inbox to your computer screen – It’s finally happening! People have come together to make a multi-modal transportation advocacy group for New Orleans! We’re talking bikes, buses, light rail, streetcars, pedestrians, unicycles, hovercrafts, mules & horses (alright, maybe not too many horses because biking through poo is no fun).

But seriously, folks, Transportation Alternative in NYC has made a huge impact on improving mass transit and bicycle and pedestrian amenities and advocating for the people of the city who decide not to drive. Transport NOLA is bringing that multi-modal, “we’re all in this together,” model of advocacy to New Orleans. Transport NOLA is starting their campaign by focusing on rail improvements, especially pushing for a light rail system that will serve the entire city and just not a handful of neighborhoods like our current streetcar system. Check out the “Where” section and you’ll see where bike and pedestrian facilities come into play too. (I’m not too crazy about this “bike lane in the middle of streetcar tracks” idea in the Tulane Station model, but maybe with modern streetcars, you and do it up so wheels don’t get caught. I’ll look into this and make sure a bunch of poorly designed bike lanes don’t end up all over the city.)

I knew this was brewin‘, but I was really surprised to see how quickly this has come together. The website looks great and they already have some concept designs online!

The kick-off event is THIS FRIDAY at the Rusty Nail (1100 Constance St in the Warehouse District a few blocks south of Lee Circle) from 6-9 pm.

I, of course, will not be there due to this “you have to be in Cincinnati to take classes”/”you’re too close to graduation to transfer” situation, but you should really go and get involved. This will be an excellent opportunity to create a forum in which all of us (advocates and users are various non-personal motor vehicle transportation modes) can come together, and work together, to improve the city and region.

Some bike questions for my reading audience

So I’m back in Ohio for 3 months, but I’m pleasantly surprised (and a little bit worried too) to find that almost all of my friends are in Cincinnati right now too. Anyone from the Rust Belt knows this rarely happens since everyone (including myself) is always trying to run as far away as possible, but thanks to the shitty economy and everyone trying to actually graduate this spring, about 90% of the people I’ve been hanging out with since I was 17 are back in town. For better or worse, though, I’m sitting in my childhood home on my parents farm 40 miles from campus because I’m cheap and I didn’t want to pay rent or have to buy groceries and I only need to be at school two days a week.

On the “for the better” side of this, I actually have money right now. And I also have a real job lined up in New Orleans starting in July (I thought I’d reassure you all that I’ll be back soon and not leaving for more than a week or two ever again!). That leads me to why I’m posting this – I need some more bikes. I only have one bike, the lovely champagne-colored Nishiki mixte you’ve probably seen me riding around on. I love that bike and I would U-lock the hell out of anyone who ever tried to steal it (keep that in mind encase you were considering that), but it’s not that fast and I can’t take it off-road.

I’m thinking of getting some type of cyclocross bike to fix that problem. There are a number of single-speed cyclocross bikes out there and Surly makes the Crosscheck frame that can be easily set up with a single-speed of flip-flop hub. I’d have to build that baby from the ground up though, and while I’m up for the challenge, I’m wondering if it is really cheaper than buying a complete bike. I’ve been scooping out the Specialized Tricross Singlecross but I’ve heard mixed reviews about alumnimum frames and carbon forks. Whenever I go to the bike shop in Oakley, I usually drool over the Salsa Casseroll Single which is really flexible in how the wheels/tires are set up and is made with CroMoly which I’ve been riding on for years now and have been happy with. These is also the Bianchi San Jose which I haven’t seen at any bike stores but heard good things in online forums. I’m not exactly sure what else is out there in the under $900 price range.

A lot of the fixed-gear and single speed road bikes on the market are automatically ruled out because of their standover height. The max standover I can do with something with a straight top-tube is 28.5.” 27.5″ or 28″ would be ideal. Most of those bikes are at 29″ or more for the smallest size available. Discrimination against girls and short dudes if you ask me. I think I need to send some angry letters to Surly because the 49 cm Steamroller is too big for me! I can ride 49’s in other brands like Specialized, but the 49 Surlys are way too big. The Crosscreck comes in a 42 and 46, so that’ll work out.

I’ve also found myself up a creek trying to find a bike on craigslist. Everything is too big and bikes that aren’t too big are traditional “women’s style” frames which is not what I’m looking for. In frustration, I’m thinking I’ll just buy new.

My dad, who is totally awesome, trash picked an old on road/off road bike for me this winter. It’s not something I’d want to make into a regular rider, but I think I’m going to fix it up anyway and leave it at mom and dads for when I visit. It has gears (which I think work) so I’ll put some off-road tires on it and take that baby out on the trail. I’d like to take my future cyclocross bike out on the trail too, but the one-speed might be tough in Ohio. A one-speed cyclocross bike should be pretty awesome though for any off-road trails in Louisiana and out terrible roads in New Orleans.

So what I need from you, oh dear readers, is some advice on what type of bike I should buy. Should I just get a road bike and pick up some old mountain bike on craigslist? Should I not give up on finding a small frame on craigslist so quickly? Can you solve all my problems and just sell me your bike? But really, give me some advice on this. In the mean time, I’ll be visiting all the bike shops in Cincy on Wednesday and see what’s around.

Oh, and PS…I need bff bike mechanic in New Orleans. I’m super sad about mine planning on moving away not only because he was really good at showing me how to fix my bike, but because he’s a good friend and a top-notch adventure buddy. I’m working on trying to get my bff bike mechanic in Cincinnati to move to New Orleans but I’m not sure I’ll suceed. He’s not done with school and has a girlfriend who doesn’t graduate for like 2 years. My other bff bike mechanic lives in San Franciso and don’t ever get me started on how crushed I am about that. If you’d like to fill those shoes of these fine young men, send an e-mail to me and tell me how awesome you are. If you are indeed as awesome as you say you are and you can fix bikes just as well as anyone who works in a shop, I’ll make you cookies and dinner in exchange for helping me with bike issues and we’ll go on awesome bike adventures and get drunk every weekend. If you help me rebuild a bike, I’ll buy all the beer too. This is a serious job here, so only send serious inquries. Men and women are welcome to apply, but the position is only open to those who are young adults or very young at heart. It is quite likely I’ll never like you as much as Willie, Dave, or Rafe, but you can make an effort.