No Car Go

May 7, 2010 by

We know you, you’re a savvy connoisseur of alternative transportation options. Knowing your discerning taste, we think you should check out No Car Go. The awesome Amy V moved from DC back to her home state of Indiana WITHOUT A CAR. And she’s managing to get around without one, which as anyone who has tried to do in a non-major metropolitan city knows is not easy.

This blog explores what it means to be car-free in the 21st century. Heck, if the mood strikes, it might even explore what it was, or will be, like to be car-free in some other century.

When you come to No Car Go, here’s what you can reasonably expect to find:

  • Celebrations of the many and varied benefits of a car-free life
  • mentions of the many and varied limitations of a car-free life
  • Promotions of community around a car-free culture
  • Tips on how to get around car-free
  • Meanderings on the car-free experience

Come to No Car Go often for information, inspiration, and a laugh now and then. And feel free to pitch in your own helpful information, inspiring remarks, and hilarious experiences in the comments sections.

Your welcome in advance.

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Even better than Google Maps

April 22, 2010 by

So everyone was all excited google maps added a bike option for generating directions, but as anyone who has used it to generate a route knows, it’s just not that great.

However, there is alternative: Ride the City. It has to be the coolest fucking bike map thing ever. Seriously. You can choose from three routes “Safe, Safer, or Direct”. It’s really easy to design your own ride, simply drag and drop the starting end ending icons where you want to start and…well end, and it does all the dirty work of finding the best way in between. Could be really awesome if you like to come up with group rides for you and your friends…

Cyclist Killed During Nuke Summit

April 13, 2010 by

Man, as if all the security surrounding the Nuclear Summit at the Convention Center this week wasn’t annoying enough (really you take away all the mail boxes in the vicinity but leave the trash cans?), a cyclist was killed by a National Guard truck at 12th & NY Ave NW, which was pulling forward to escort a motorcade.

Super sad. Let’s hope that this is actually investigated, and if it does happen to be due to negligence of the driver that they’re actually held accountable.

Hopefully WABA will be putting up a ghost bike which interested people can attend.

Ride safe!!!

Bike Movies @MLK

April 7, 2010 by

In May, the Martin Luther King Library (901 G ST NW) will be screening bike movies on Tuesday nights at 7. 

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure-May 4
Breaking Away–May 11
Quicksilver–May 18
Rad–May 25

The movies are free and open to all!

Revised: Info Incase the Worst Happens

April 7, 2010 by

 It’s not fun to talk about, but like the boy (and girl) scouts say, always be prepared. Here is some really great info sent out by someone I know who has been a year-round cyclist and unfortunately got hit 4 times in the past 10 years – so he knows what he’s talking about. Reading, know it, pass it on, and wear a helmet!!!

The Information: DC, Maryland, and Virginia are all common law contributory negligence jurisdictions.  In other words, if it can be shown that you contributed even one percent to a collision, you share equal blame for the crash with the vehicle driver.  What that means in the real world is, for example, if you get clobbered riding the wrong way on the bike lane in front of PY, you cannot make a claim against the driver and the police probably won’t cite them either.  Alternatively, if a driver illegally throws his door open in front of you as you legally ride down the street, but you’re talking on a cell or jammin’ to some new groove on your ipod (i.e. distracted) and you do a neck-breaking face plant into the window of the door, you just might live to regret it.  Remember: all it takes is one percent.  Which brings me to…
The request: Please be aware of and obey all traffic laws even if you think they’re stupid.  If you disagree with the law, get involved, join a bike advocacy group, and/or write your political leaders and demand changes.  Conscientious objection to the law (AKA running red lights and stop signs, riding two abreast even when doing so impedes traffic, etc) does a great disservice to all bikers because it leads everyone else to conclude categorically that bikers are scofflaws.  This widely held belief contributes to a presumption of guilt among drivers, cops, and juries that bikers MUST have done something illegal to put themselves in front of or under a vehicle that hit them, even if the actual biker in question performed exactly as required by the law.

Tips if you are involved in a serious collision with a car:

1.  Stay on the ground and go by ambulance to the ER.  Doing so will:
       a. document and begin mitigating any injuries you may have sustained, including injuries you may not even notice at the scene;
       b. satisfy legal requirements that injured parties do everything in their power to lessen the damages they sustain; and
       c. ensure that a police report gets written.

2.  Do not rely on the police to investigate the crash, document the facts, or collect the names of witnesses.  It’s been my experience that, whether intentional or not, the entire system is rigged against bikers, so:
       a.  Always carry a flash-equipped disposable camera and, if you are conscious and able to speak, ask someone at the scene to take pictures that capture everything—your position, your bike’s position, the vehicle(s) involved, any relevant traffic control devices, etc.  Remember—pictures can tell 1,000 words.
       b. Carry some pre-printed “witness cards,” and try to get the first people at the scene to give you their names and contact info even if they didn’t see the crash itself.  First responders see and hear all sorts of relevant things (e.g. your bike headlight was on, or the car driver saying “I didn’t see him!”).  Include line items on the card that beg for answers, such as “headlight was ___” or “Did the driver say he saw me? ___”
       c. If you can get to your cell phone or have someone get it for you, call yourself and leave a message describing what happened.  You will forget things over time, and small details from the scene can really matter later on. Leave the phone connected because it might record the driver saying things, like “I didn’t even see him” or “I was running a bit late getting home.”  If it’s not too much of a strain, do a play-by-play of everything you hear and see while waiting to be hauled off in the ambulance.
       d. Write your own “courtroom-grade” incident statement as soon as possible and submit it to the police.  Use googlemaps or other satellite images of the scene marked with points A, B, C, etc, then write a narrative of what happened at each of those points.  You can also submit the statement to insurance companies in lieu of the verbal statements they sometimes prefer.  Which is more reliable—your memory of what happened days or weeks after the incident, or a statement you wrote within 24 hours based on  a phone message you left for yourself describing the scene as it unfolded?

3)  Get a copy of the police report and confirm that what you wrote is either appended to the official report or accurately transcribed.  If it’s not, complain immediately to the filing officer’s supervisor and consider filing an internal affairs complaint.  These reports form the basis of national statistics about the cause sof bike/car crashes, and it’s been my experience that the police tend to absolve drivers of wrongdoing in collisions involving bikes.  This, I believe, contributes to the common knowledge that all bikers are scofflaws and, therefore, we sort of deserve to get hit.

Ride as safely as you can.

Important Info Incase the Worst Happens

April 7, 2010 by

It’s not fun to talk about, but like the boy (and girl) scouts say, always be prepared. Here is some really great info sent out by someone I know who has been a year-round cyclist and unfortunately got hit 4 times in the past 10 years – so he knows what he’s talking about. Reading, know it, pass it on, and wear a helmet!!!

The Information:

The request:

Tips

1. Stay on the ground and go by ambulance to the ER. Doing so will:

a. document and begin mitigating any injuries you may have sustained, including injuries you may not even notice at the scene;

b. satisfy legal requirements that injured parties do everything in their power to lessen the damages they sustain; and

c. ensure that a police report gets written.

2. Do not rely on the police to investigate the crash, document the facts, or collect the names of witnesses. It’s been my experience that, whether intentional or not, the entire system is rigged against bikers, so:

a. Always carry a flash-equipped disposable camera and, if you are conscious and able to speak, ask someone at the scene to take pictures that capture everything—your position, your bike’s position, the vehicle(s) involved, any relevant traffic control devices, etc. Remember—pictures can tell 1,000 words.

b. Carry some pre-printed “witness cards,” and try to get the first people at the scene to give you their names and contact info even if they didn’t see the crash itself. First responders see and hear all sorts of relevant things (e.g. your bike headlight was on, or the car driver saying “I didn’t see him!”). Include line items on the card that beg for answers, such as “headlight was ___” or “Did the driver say he saw me? ___”

c. If you can get to your cell phone or have someone get it for you, call yourself and leave a message describing what happened. You will forget things over time, and small details from the scene can really matter later on. Leave the phone connected because it might record the driver saying things, like “I didn’t even see him” or “I was running a bit late getting home.” If it’s not too much of a strain, do a play-by-play of everything you hear and see while waiting to be hauled off in the ambulance.

d. Write your own “courtroom-grade” incident statement as soon as possible and submit it to the police. Use googlemaps or other satellite images of the scene marked with points A, B, C, etc, then write a narrative of what happened at each of those points. You can also submit the statement to insurance companies in lieu of the verbal statements they sometimes prefer. Which is more reliable—your memory of what happened days or weeks after the incident, or a statement you wrote within 24 hours based on a phone message you left for yourself describing the scene as it unfolded?

3) Get a copy of the police report and confirm that what you wrote is either appended to the official report or accurately transcribed. If it’s not, complain immediately to the filing officer’s supervisor and consider filing an internal affairs complaint. These reports form the basis of national statistics about the cause sof bike/car crashes, and it’s been my experience that the police tend to absolve drivers of wrongdoing in collisions involving bikes. This, I believe, contributes to the common knowledge that all bikers are scofflaws and, therefore, we sort of deserve to get hit.

Ride as safely as you can.

Ride for the Feast

March 15, 2010 by

What are you doing May 15&16? Why not ride your bike for a worthy cause (rather than the unworthy causes you’re always out and about for)?

Movable Feast feeds people in MD with HIV/AIDS and breast cancer. Hows about showing some gratitude for not having any of that stuff (or supporting people you know who do). And show up that weekend? Then you can go back to the depraved causes you usually ride for.

Be a commuter mentor!

January 12, 2010 by

Damn, has it really been 3 months since we last posted??! Sorry about that folks. Chain Gang is in hibernation until it stops being so effing cold every day. But, that doesn’t mean you should start thinking about getting back on the road.

WABA is looking for people to be “Commuter Mentors”, a buddy to someone in your neighborhood trying out the idea of riding their bike to work. It’s awesome and you know you want to help. Check it:

Be a commuter mentor with WABA!
Become a Commuter MentorIn keeping with our motto of “Getting There by Bike Since 1972,” WABA is renewing our Commuter Mentor Program. A commuter mentor is an experienced cyclist and WABA member who is willing to assist new commuters and first time riders with commuting to work by bike in the Washington area.What does it take to be a mentor? As a mentor, you will use everything you have learned from riding in your neighborhood and commuting to work to help guide other cyclists from point A to point B, including your in-depth knowledge of trails, bike routes, bike facilities, low-traffic streets, etc.How do you become a commuter mentor?Send an email to volunteer@waba.org with “I want to be a commuter mentor” in the subject line. Include your name, neighborhood (City/State), and email address. We’ll send you a confirmation email that you have been added to the commuter mentor website and will send you some helpful links to maps, trails, and guides that will make mentoring easier. Cyclists looking for help will be able to find a mentor in their area and contact them directly for help.

Cyclin’ Sam

Thoughtful article on cyclists and car-laws

October 18, 2009 by

I propose we start calling the current traffic laws “car-laws” because, as this excellent article on Slate points out, traffic laws were created for cars. Excellent, that is, in terms of laying out the opposing factions: the vehicularists who think that special bike paths and other provisions are tantamount to admitting our inherent differences with cars; and the facilitators who say that the current system (of roads and laws) were designed for cars without bikes in mind, so we (cyclists) deserve our own system moving forward.

Of course, there needs to be a happy medium. Vehicularists are retarded because cyclists MUST be considered different enough from cars to deserve their own laws/protections. Cars have things like 2,000+ lbs. of steel and glass and seat belts, whereas we have helmets and reflective tape. Be reasonable. On the other hand, facilitators can’t expect that new bike paths are going to spring up nation-wide, esp in this economy.

At the very least, I hope we can all agree that riding the wrong way on a one-way street, as the author of the Slate article felt no shame in admitting, is beyond stupid and won’t do anything to encourage big, heavy, dangerous cars to slow down around us super vulnerable cyclists. We can’t expect to be given the time of day by decisionmakers if we don’t apply at least a smidgen of common sense on the road.

She-Hulk

NoVa bike Fall bike classes announced

October 1, 2009 by

FALL 2009 BICYCLING CLASSES

Two Northern Virginia adult education programs are separately sponsoring four cycling skills and bicycle maintenance courses taught by Allen Muchnick, a nationally certified League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Cycling Instructor.  Except as noted otherwise, all classes meet on weekday evenings from 6:30-9:30 PM.

The four courses are:

* Bicycling 101, a 3-hour discussion of bicycling basics for new and intermediate riders.

* Smart Cycling Traffic Skills 101, the League of American Bicyclists’ essential, comprehensive, and very practical 9-hour cycling skills course for *all* bicyclists;

* Bicycle Maintenance & Repair, a 3-hour lecture and demonstration; and

* Bicycle Mechanics Workshop, a 3-hour hands-on sequel to any course listed above.

TO REGISTER, enroll with the local course sponsor IN ADVANCE:

* Fairfax County Adult & Community Education (703-658-1201 [or 703-658-1225] or [http://www.aceclasses.org] . Search “bicycle” and “cycling” to find all classes, or go to [http://tinyurl.com/2kmm4g] .

* Arlington Adult Education (703-228-7200 or [http://www.arlingtonadulted.org] .  To view all bicycle classes, go to [http://tinyurl.com/2dv57s] .

For questions about the instruction, contact the instructor, Allen Muchnick, at <allenmuchnick@yahoo.com> or 703-271-0895.

=====

COURSE SPECIFICS:

BICYCLING 101. Performance, equipment, safety, and maintenance basics for new and intermediate riders: comfort and improvement tips, self-sufficiency, use of gearing, and street cycling fundamentals. No riding. One three-hour session.

Fairfax County Session, $49 ($29.40 for resident seniors)
* TI05299-31: Tu, Oct 13, Plum Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM

* * *

SMART CYCLING–TRAFFIC SKILLS 101 (Cycling with Confidence!). Learn the craft of cycling with on-bike and classroom instruction in key cycling skills for roads, paths, and groups: equipment use and care, breakdown repairs, efficient pedaling, bike handling, training, vehicular (street) cycling, and crash prevention. Bike and helmet REQUIRED at the second and final 7-hr class session on Saturday (bring or buy lunch). One weeknight and one Saturday session (10 hrs total).

Fairfax County Course, $119 ($75.40 for resident seniors):
* TI05302-30: Th, Oct 22, 6:30-9:30 PM, plus Sat, Oct 24, 9 AM-4 PM, Plum Ctr

Arlington County Course, $85 residents/$109 non-residents, seniors $65/$85:
* GI-816: W, Oct 28, 6:30-9:30 PM, plus Sat, Oct 31, 9 AM-4PM, Arlington Career Ctr

* * *

BICYCLE MAINTENANCE & REPAIR. Lecture/demonstration on bike fit, breakdown repairs, and the inspection, adjustment, lubrication, and renovation of diverse components. Bike not required. One 3-hour session.

Fairfax County Sessions, $42 ($25.20 for resident seniors), plus $17 for optional “$25” textbook:
* TI05300-31: Tu, Oct 20, Plum Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM
* TI05300-32: W, Nov 4, Pimmit Hills Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM

Arlington County Sessions, $39 residents/$50 non-residents, seniors $29/$39:
* GI-813B: W, Oct 14, Arlington Career Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM
* GI-813C: Tu, Nov 10, Arlington Career Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM

* * *

BICYCLE MECHANICS WORKSHOP. This self-directed, hands-on sequel to any other bicycle class lets you tune up, fix, or modify your bicycle or practice inspection, maintenance, or repair procedures. Bring bike(s), supplies, and inspiration. One 3-hour session.

Fairfax County Sessions, $49 ($29.40 for resident seniors):
* TI05301-30: Tu, Sep 29, Pimmit Hills Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM
* TI05301-31: Tu, Oct 27, Plum Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM
* TI05301-32: W, Nov 11, Pimmit Hills Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM

Arlington County Sessions, $39 residents/$50 non-residents, seniors $29/$39:
* GI-814B: W, Oct 21, Arlington Career Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM
* GI-814C: W, Nov 18, Arlington Career Ctr, 6:30-9:30 PM

====
Questions: Contact
Allen Muchnick
League of American Bicyclists Smart Cycling Instructor (LCI) #538
muchnick@capaccess.org
703-271-0895
Arlington VA