Friday, January 28, 2011

PELCOR initiative moves forward!

The Cities of Pickens, Easley and Liberty have just gotten that much closer to making biking in and between the communities a reality. This week the Greenville News reported that the city of Pickens awarded a $7,000 grant to Ride Garden, a local Greenville-based company, to create a master plan that will look at off-road bike and other recreation opportunities. (Hint: Search for the article on Google, and then hit the "cache" option. This allows you to go around the subscription requirement of Greenville News.) This step is just one part of the PELCOR (Pickens, Easley and Liberty Corridor) initiative. The initiative between the three community involves efforts to develop a network of bike trails, lanes and paths that people can use to get from place to place or as ride destinations. There is also a strong interest in developing a bicycle education program for beginners and families. 

Leaders in the communities recognize that the biking and multi-modal opportunities are growing in Greenville, and across the region. The cities involved with PELCOR are eager to establish their own network and link to the growing opportunities in Greenville. This effort is recognized by municipal officials as an investment in economic development and physical fitness livelihood of residents in the communities.

Add Pickens, Easley and Liberty to the list of communities in the Upstate that are making the dream of safe, connected mulit-modal infrastructure a reality.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bicyles, Empowerment, and Humor

 As I was doing some searching online this morning about the Safe Routes to School program, I came across this great quote:

What does that mean to you? In this quote, I see great wisdom and humor. Sometimes when we fight for something hard that is important to us - like a job, a relationship, a social change - life has a way of coming through. Perhaps not in the way or timing we were expecting, but there is a tendency for things to work out in the end. It's great that the bicycle - one of the simplest machines, forms of transportation and ways to have fun - played a role in the women's empowerment movement at the turn of the last century. I believe it will also be important in revolutionizing our cities, neighborhoods and communities in the 21st century.

The humor, or irony, in this statement also reminds me not to take life too seriously. This is something we can all relate to.

On an unrelated topic, if you are looking for a collection of great bicycle quotes (or paraphernalia), this blog had a several different thought-pondering sayings. They are fun! You can also follow the parent blog here.

Bicycle's have the power to change: change your health, change your perspective and change your life. Take a small step, and take a short ride soon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Ride of 2011

On Sunday, when the weather returned to "normal," I headed out on my bike to stretch my legs after being cooped up all week due to the snow and ice. It was great! This is probably the first time I have ever ridden my bike in January. Since I come from the land of cold and snow, being able to enjoy a warmer weather activity this time of year was fun.

I did a mild size ride - exploring "Old Central Road" and a few side roads, too. Not bad for the first time out in a while. There is this killer(!) hill on War Branch Road, a side road off of Old Central road - that's the extra jog marked out on the map below. It was hilly! (An invited challenge.) I also saw a group of riders enjoying the lovely weather on 93.

I ride a 2007 bianchi volpe that I bought as a graduation present to myself upon completing graduate school. I call her Betty Lou because she has leopard print piping on the bike seat. A flash of her (and my) wild side. I just love her! This is the ride I commuted with when I was working for the Department of Transportation in Madison. I have hopes of someday doing a longer, multi-day trek. She's made out of steel. So the frame isn't as light, but it absorbs more of the bumps on the road and is easier on the body to ride for a longer time. And, if I ever flip, the frame won't get bent out of shape as easily.

Get out and ride whenever you can!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why Blog?

Winter may be an odd time to start a biking blog, but I think it's like the saying "better late than never." When we moved, I started to think about the idea of creating a blog about biking. As the months went by, the idea continued to nag me, so I jumped on it. I didn't start right away because I had given the idea some time to see if it felt like a fading fad.

The idea never left me, so I decided to act upon it.

Not being the first blogger, nor the first biking blogger in South Carolina or the Upstate (Check out these: Greenville Biking blog  older, but still may be updated and Palmetto Cycling Coalition blog. I'm sure there are others.), I still felt like I wanted to build my skills and knowledge of biking in the South or, at least, in South Carolina.

Having been a bicycle commuter for the four years I in lived in Madison, Wisconsin, I became familiar with the bicycle community, sites and infrastructure. Since moving, I decided it was time to take a dive into new waters (for me) and find out more about bicycling here. And, I figure, the best way to start learning about bicycling in a new area is by diving in.

Come spring, when the weather is better (we had about 9 inches of snow in Central today - one of the snowiest days in 20 years) and my life has settled into more a routine, I look forward to hopping on my bike, exploring new areas and riding. I would like to get involved with a cycling group or just a group of friends who like to ride, too.

But, for now, on days when one can't ride, there are still ways to be active and enjoy the beauty of the Upstate. (photos to come later!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

South Carolina Bicycling Laws

I was interested in learning about the state laws on bicycling. I found this great link that leads to a summary of South Carolina Code of Laws, dated May 12, 2009. Here's a few of the more interesting things I found:

According to State law...
  • A bicycle is a device only propelled by pedals. 
    • Where do electric bicycles fit?
  • It's legal to proceed through a red light - after coming to a full and complete stop and waiting 120 seconds (and treat the red light like a hard-core stop sign. AKA make sure there's no traffic coming!)
  • Car drivers are expected to exercise care exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle... bicyclists observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person. 
    • What?! Folks, please don't Drink and Bike. No BUI's, please!
  • Only one bike rider per permantly fixed apparatus aka seat.
    • Remember riding on your neighbors handle bars? or maybe on the back axle of a bmx bike? It's illegal, according to state law.
  • Cyclist's are protected from harassment, taunting and/or maliciously thrown objects. Perpetrators can be fined or imprisoned.
  • You can't ride your bike behind a car, skater or sled, either.
  • White lights in the front and red lights in the rear are a must!
  • Cops can use bikes as part of a police patrol. The bike can have a siren!
    • Cool. I would love to see this.
  • Bicycles and baby carriages are deemed as baggage on steam trains and ferries. Apparently, just like trunks, bikes and carriages don't have to be crated, boxed, locked or protected in a certain way.
  • The state codes promote biking and walking to school safety. (Permitting of a Safe Routes to School Team.)
This is quite the list! My favorites are the fact that bicycles and baby carriages are in the category (even if it's just for shipping purposes) and that it's against the law to ride on your best friend's handle bars when you're eight years old. What are yours?

The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin works with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and hands out these great pocket-size rule books, or copies of the Wisconsin Code of Laws pertaining cyclists. (Search for "Bike Cards" on the website.) They were always nice to have on hand if the bike cops pulled you over or ever needed a fact check on the rules and regulations of riding on the road. Are there pocket sized copies of this list available to cyclists in SC?

Knowing the rules (and your rights!) of the road is always a handy thing. Hope this guide helps!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

South Carolina Bike Trails

Happy New Year! Anyone looking to make plans to bike any interesting routes in 2011 may find this post useful. I did a quick google search to come up with some Bike Trail suggestions. The most comprehensive list I could find was at this website which is part of the South Carolina State Trails program website. The website hosts information about the South Carolina Bicycle Touring Guide, a guide that lists some of the bicycle trails in the state. It seems that the Department of Transportation and Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism have shared the duty of updating this guide over the years. The lists of trails could probably use an updating since the website has listed the most recent update as 2000. There is a part of the website that hosts the State's 2002 Trail Plan from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The plan includes several bicycle trail updates and expansions. However, well-known routes like the Swamp Rabbit Trail aren't listed. (That's probably due to the fact that the route isn't maintained by the State. Here's a great link to a page with a google map of the trail.)

If you're interested in riding locally, I suggest checking with local park and recreation or planning departments to see if there is a listing of suggested bicycle routes or paths.

For those into mountain biking, here's a list of several trails throughout the state. There are a few in the Upstate area. 

The information listed in the State guide and website does not seem to differientiate between bicycle trails for road bikes and mountain bike riders. If you're looking to explore a new trail in 2011, consider contacting the State or a local municipality before heading out to learn more about the conditions of the trail. Enjoy!