Monday, May 26, 2014

A Call to Action

I came across an interesting post recently that I wanted to share with you. Over the last several years on this blog, there have been posts about bicycle culture, advocacy and bringing better bicycle riding and facilities to your community. This is an important step in helping to make bicycle riding and all its benefits accessible to everyone - young or young at heart, novices, veterans, weekend warriors, grocery-getters, hipsters and everyone else.

This message is building, and it is resonating throughout the state. There is a call to create a better bicycle culture that is coming from within our state. And it's a pretty powerful message, one that's easy to get behind. Take some time in these last few days of National Bike Month to look it over, think about it and consider what you should do to join the effort. During your next group ride or social bike event, share what you've learned with others and bring this call to action forward in your community.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Be Part of the Conversation

In the national bike scene there has been a growing discussion on the differences in men and women. Differences in group riding styles, differences in reasons to ride, differences in attire and differences in safety concerns. It's an important discussion to be having, and one that can be brought home and discussed here in the Upstate. I feel the need to call attention to this topic because the needs of men and women can be different and otherwise overlooked.

Men make up a majority of riders. Nationally, though the gap has been closing recently, men make up about 70% - 75% of riders. Bike counts I've run at Clemson University have shown that around 80% of riders are guys, which means only 20% are women. With only about a quarter of riders being women, there needs to be a serious conversation about why this happening. What are the barriers, both perceived and real? What improvements would enable more women to ride, especially in the Upstate in communities like Clemson, Easley, Pickens and Walhalla?

Some of the challenges include the perceptions of being feminine (and masculine, for that matter) and bicycle riding. With the development of a bicycle culture in places across the country, there has been more acceptance and a wider audience interested in riding a bicycle as a way of life and not just for speed and sport, the traditional entry point for many men. As more folks have become interested and engaged in bicycle riding, exploring what it means to ride a bike, and why it matters has become part of the national dialogue, including exploring how to get more women on two wheels.

Today, in the Upstate, national news and movements are suddenly becoming local. You may know or see folks in your community riding where several years, five years or ten years ago very few were seen riding bicycles. When you see someone in your neighborhood riding, it may cause you to pause, think and ask yourself "Hmmm. I wonder why they/he/she is riding?" It might also be important to ask, and encourage decision-makers to consider "What can be done to encourage more women to ride?"

As you take time to consider how riding can fit into your life during National Bike Month, consider doing some research on what it would take to commute to work. Talk to your friends, colleagues and explore other blogs and websites to learn more. Find a few groups or folks to follow on Twitter and join the social media conversation, and explore what riding a bike means to you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Upstate News Update during National Bike Month

Happy National Bike Month! Over the last several years (May 2011, May 2012, May 2013), I've written about the various activities and communities in the upstate involved in this national celebration. It's May, and that means it's the month dedicated to pedal-power, two-wheel activities. In the south, it's not yet uncomfortably hot and humid. In the north, spring is finally peeking through the ground, and in the northwest the rainy season has finished. No matter where you are in the country, it's a great month to get out and ride.

I recently went out for a ride, having a grand time biking through Pendleton, Clemson and in the Clemson Experimental Forest. I even managed to squeeze in a visit to a horse show and cooled my wheels in Lake Hartwell.

There has been some recent bicycle-related news going on in the upstate that I thought it was important to bring to y'all's attention (...pardon my grammar...). So, without further ado...

In Pickens and Easley, this blog has been following the development of the Doodle Trail Plan. Starting out as an idea in 2012, the final results of the feasibility study that examined local opportunities and challenges was recently revealed at a public meeting. Many folks in the community have been very excited about the idea of a bicycle and pedestrian path that would run between the two cities. Community conversations have taken place on a facebook page. A copy of the study can be found on the City of Easley's bicycle website.
In Greenville, there are a number of bicycle events happening throughout the City to celebrate National Bike Month. It's the one year anniversary of bike share in Greenville, and the City has announced that another bike share station will be going in at Cleveland Park near the Zoo this summer. If you haven't had a chance to take a ride, or aren't sure what bike share is, take the opportunity to educate yourself or take a bike for a spin soon. The City is also seeking funds to further the development of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, taking the trail out to Clemson University's ICAR campus. Improvements are happening off the (paved) road, too. A new trail at Paris Mountain State Park is slated to open soon (on May 10).

In Pendleton, there have also been some murmurings about the possibility of a bike plan or a feasibility study for a bike plan. With the development of a recent master plan for the Town Square through a grant from the Endowment of the National Arts, and some recent national attention, there could be great things happening in Pendleton in the near future.

As always, momentum continues to grow! So many great activities, plans and trails being blazed in communities across the upstate. Make sure you get out and enjoy these events during National Bike Month.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Doodle Trail Plan Unveiling - Tonight!

Brief post today. Tonight the plan for the Doodle Trail, the shared use/bike path that will run between the communities of Pickens and Easley will be unveiled. The plan has been in development for at least a year. The public meeting (y'all come!) will be at the Easley Tri-County Tech Campus which is at 1774 Powdersville Rd in Easley. Meeting starts at 6 - just enough time to run home to grab a bite to eat and then head over to the meeting.

Doodle Line Master Plan
Public Meeting on Thursday, May 1 for the Doodle Line Trail.