Friday, January 31, 2014

102-year-old cyclist sets world record!

 Submitted by Gary Moses

(AP) -- Age hasn't slowed cyclist Robert Marchand.

The 102-year-old Frenchman broke his own world record in the over-100s category Friday, riding 26.927 kilometers (16.7 miles) in one hour, more than 2.5 kilometers better than his previous best time in the race against the clock two years ago.

By way of comparison, the current overall world record for one hour is 49.700 kilometers (30.882 miles) set by Czech Ondrej Sosenka in 2005.

Marchand, a retired firefighter and logger, also holds the record for someone over the age of 100 riding 100 kilometers (62 miles). He did it in four hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds in 2012.  [Full article ...]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bicycling Proposed as Delaware's Official Sport




WHEREAS, Delaware was ranked the 5th most bicycle friendly state in the United States in 2013; and

WHEREAS, bicycling is an accessible sport to people of all ages; and

WHEREAS, Delaware hosts the Wilmington Grand Prix, which draws over 400 bicycle riders and 16,000 spectators each year, generating over $1.7 million in economic impact since 2012; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Cycling Association named the Wilmington Grand Prix a Tier 1 race, making it one of the top 10 criterium races in the country; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware General Assembly has made a commitment to encouraging bicycling through investment in the First State Trails and Pathways Plan.



Section 1. Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code by making insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 324. State sport.

Bicycling is the official sport of the State.


This bill designates bicycling as the official sport for the State of Delaware.

Postere's note:  Stay tuned as more info becomes available.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Who is advocating for on-road safety in Delaware?

By demand of our readers, this is the first in a series of articles that will analyze the state of on-road bicycle advocacy in Delaware. Few can argue the progress made with off the road (segregated) facilities, most notably the Trails and Pathways initiative. Our state's primary advocacy organization - Bike Delaware - has played a major role with Walkable, Bikeable Delaware. They surveyed candidates, lobbied the General Assembly, and rallied key support where necessary - helping bring home millions of dollars in dedicated funding. It was a remarkable effort, and truly deserves kudos and praise not just from bicyclists, but all pathway users. But is such an exclusive focus on segregated facilities undermining on-road advocacy? Is at least some support coming from non or anti-cycling legislators, who think it's an opportunity to rid the streets of those pesky, traffic impeding bicyclists? There is evidence pointing in that direction, including an increasing disregard for DOT policies, design standards, and other guidance hard won by advocates in the past.

Over the next several weeks, we will examine how this might impact - or is already impacting infrastructure, education, enforcement, and other aspects of on-road bicycle advocacy. We'll be drawing excerpts from several different topics, some gleaned from the Delaware Bicycle Council-Bike Delaware Special Meeting on November 6, 2013, among other sources. The first will concern support for bike lanes in general, which began HERE at approximately :52 min. You can either listen in by dragging the play cursor to that time, or read the transcript below (recommended). The representatives involved in this discussion are as follows:

AA: Anthony Aglio, Delaware Bicycle Coordinator (DelDOT), AW: Amy Wilburn, Chair, Delaware Bicycle Council, CI: Carol Ireland, Secretary, Bike Delaware, DK: Drew Knox, President, Bike Delaware


AA:  Does Bike Delaware Support Bike Lanes, and on-road bicycling?

AW:  That's been a question I think, a few of us have wanted to ask and .... 

AA:  It would truly make my job easier!

CI:  I would say the generic statement is absolutely yes.

AA:  Well, we have been to meetings where representatives of your organization have been calling bike lanes "meat grinders" to groups outside that we're working with, and that is detrimental then, to what you are saying.

CI:  Well, I've been in conversations with people where there are very different perspectives on whether they're good or not, and who they are good for, but the fact that we support bicycling at all levels, whether it's on trails or on roads, I think some of it is dependent upon the situation.

AA:  Well I would agree ...

CI:  And there, I guess I would also say that there may be times when we should perhaps deal with some of the discrepancies and the issues we have amongst ourselves, within our own groups before we go out and make public statements.

AA:  I assume that maybe that was done already. If I'm wrong to assume that, then you're correcting me, but ....

CI:  I'm not sure in all cases that it's been vetted in as a Bike Delaware policy. There have been a lot of different situations where we may or may not have the opportunity to weigh in.

AW:  It has been a little bit tough because we have gotten some mixed messages and, I guess that leads to the question that I really want to ask you guys, and have been wanting to ask ...

DK:  We've never taken a stand against that in any of our publications.

AA:  Well, you have representatives at meetings ...

DK:  I understand, you have already said that. But, our official line is what we publish. We have some mixed feelings about this, feelings range from, you know, you should be integrated and be just a regular part of traffic, you should be getting as many people biking as possible, and to do that you have to have bike lanes. But ...

CI:  But with bike lanes, you've gotta have sidepaths, which are completely separate ...

DK:  Thank you. So that's the range from left to right, and we haven't advocated for any one of those over another. We haven't. Go to our website, show me where we have. Frank authored it for 3 years, 4 years.

AW:  Well, Frank ... perhaps Frank would like to speak to this ...

DK:  Let’s, let's not get buried in argument about what the policy is. I'm telling you, we have not taken a stand on this one way or the other, and that's because we don't get down into the weeds that deep.

AA:  Well, meetings that representatives attend, maybe that should be your answer ...

AW:  There has to be a consistent voice.

DK:  That's fine, I agree, we need a consistent voice.

So if Bike Delaware is not looking out for the needs of all cyclists, including those who ride on our roads, then who is? Without the backing of the state's advocacy organization, obtaining on-road facilities continues to be a struggle - but progress is being made.

The following are a few of the DelDOT projects involving bike lanes that are being or have been initiated and/or promoted by other individuals and organizations. There has been little to no support from Bike Delaware as an organization, although in some cases, an individual member or members may have contributed.
  • Bike lanes included in pave and rehab projects
  • Compiled bike community’s list of concerns that was submitted to Sec. Bhatt (DelDOT will be making improvements in the spring, including installing bike lanes on Limestone Road)
  • Bike lanes included as part of new road construction
  • Bike lanes included as part of new business construction (per NCC code)
  • Bike lanes on the St. George’s Bridge
  • Bike facilities on Route 1 and other areas around the resorts
  • Monitoring the condition of bike lanes
  • Signal detection in bike lanes
Bike lanes, though controversial at times, are a key component to bicycle safety in Delaware, given the frequency of shouldered roads (including dedicated turn lanes and high traffic speed differentials). Intersection treatments are especially important, and find overwhelming support among transportation and recreational cyclists alike. Few dispute that the roads will continue as our primary means of travel by bike, far into the future. Therefore, we encourage Bike Delaware to actively promote increased safety with on-road infrastructure, or state their position otherwise.

A properly designed bike lane, in this case through a right turn-only lane, puts the bicyclist in the safest position relative to through and turning traffic. Hash marks indicate that bicyclists and cars are free to change lanes as necessary.

An improperly designed bike lane puts bicyclists in a less than optimal position relative to cars, in this case, to the right of right-turning traffic. It was this design - instead of the pocket lane above - that Bike Delaware advocated for at the Route 52/82 intersection north of Greenville. It will increase the likelihood of right hook collisions, unless cyclists move out and take the lane as turning vehicles try and overtake them. The safest approach with this lane configuration - straight/right combined - requires reducing the speed limit through the intersection, and adding sharrows and/or other shared lane treatments.

Friday, January 24, 2014

If only we could be like Hamburg

From The Guardian -- The German city is planning a green network that will cover 40% of the city area, contributing to resilience and allowing biking, swimming and nature watching in the city.

Boris Johnson, don't read this: there's a European commercial hub that promotes bicycling as the main mode of transportation. It is, in fact, embarking on a plan to build a network around bikes and pedestrians, linking car-free roads to parks and playgrounds, from the city centre to the suburbs.

Welcome to Hamburg, an environmental pioneer in the mould of its regional neighbour Copenhagen. Its planned green network will cover 40% of the city's area. "It will connect parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, gardens and cemeteries through green paths", Angelika Fritsch, a spokeswoman for the city's department of urban planning and the environment, tells Guardian Sustainable Business. "Other cities, including London, have green rings, but the green network will be unique in covering an area from the outskirts to the city centre. In 15 to 20 years you'll be able to explore the city exclusively on bike and foot." The green network will even connect animal habitats, enabling critters to crisscross the city without risk of being run over. Perhaps more importantly, the network will absorb CO2 emissions and help prevent floods when inevitable superstorms strike.  [Keep reading ...]

Poster's note:
Excerpt from today's Delaware On-line:
[Governor] Markell proposed spending $1.1 billion on roads over the next five years, $500 million more than currently planned.

What percentage of these funds - if any - will be spent on active and sustainable transportation modes, including real networks that actually connect to common destinations? While DelDOT and DNREC does fund some non-motorized infrastructure through Complete Streets and the Trails and Pathways program, it usually comes in the form of isolated trails and disconnected bike lanes. Hence, the need for Funding Pools and other dedicated sources of steady funding to make real network connections - both on and off the road.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of funds mentioned above will be spent on this kind infrastructure, and promoting more car-dependency. And it's not entirely Jack's doing, either; If any Governor was to spend the kind of money needed to truly green Delaware (or a city in Delaware) with non-motorized infrastructure, odds are he or she would be swiftly voted out of office for "wasteful spending".

Thursday, January 23, 2014

PETITION: Bike/Ped Accommodations With New Susquehanna River Bridge

East Coast Greenway Alliance -- The East Coast Greenway (ECG) is a 2,900-mile National Millennium Trail connecting 15 states and more than two dozen major cities throughout the Eastern seaboard. The ECG is now 29% complete as trail, with 71% of the route on carefully-selected roadways. There are many challenges to building trail on the route, but one rises high above the rest: crossing the Susquehanna River. Did you know that in the state of Maryland there is no safe way to cross the Susquehanna on foot or by bike? The closest safe crossing is in Pennsylvania, over 23 miles upstream from Havre de Grace. With your help, we can change that.  [Keep reading ...]

Poster's note:
A safe non-motorized crossing of the Susquehanna River has been the dream of many White Clay Bicycle Club members, and others who ride west through Cecil County en-route to Havre de Grace and points in Harford County. This new bridge upcoming may be the last chance for generations to come, so please sign the petition and spread the word!

A railroad span is seen in the distance, not far from the Lower Susquehanna Greenway in Harford County. The remains of an abandoned railroad can be seen in the foreground, overhanging the river edge.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

B.E.S.T. meeting on 2/12 will focus on Curriculum, Pilot Program, Summit

By Ceci McCormick

The next meeting of the B.E.S.T. Group will be held on Wednesday, February 12th at 7:00 PM, at NHPS (Nemours Health & Prevention Services) in Newark (map). The agenda will include a review of the B.E.S.T. Curriculum (below), discussion of the criteria for an Active Transportation pilot program using this curriculum document, and presentation planning for the Heels & Wheels Summit in March. 

John and  Ceci will be co-hosting the Summit's Safety & Education' s session with Jennifer Baldwin, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator for Raleigh, N. Carolina. Information that will be presented during the session includes the following: 

B.E.S.T. Session: Heels & Wheels Summit 2014
Background:  In the fall of 2012, various advocates for increased participation in active transportation in Delaware discussed the need for some coordination among the groups. The belief was that sharing information, and supporting each other, would allow everyone to be more effective, powerful advocates for a healthier life style.

The initial brainstorming session was designed to begin to create alignment among bicycle advocacy groups, DelDOT, and state education officials regarding teaching an LAB-based Bicycle Safety Course to children in Delaware. The first meeting of this group was framed by a draft vision statement [“Teach a comprehensive bicycle safety course to every 5th grade class in Delaware each year, so that in 10 years we’ll have an emerging adult population with an appreciation for cycling as an activity and lifestyle”] and a name [Bicycle Education and Safety Training [B.E.S.T.].  During that meeting, the name and vision statement began to evolve, based on the input of the participants. Currently:
  • B.E.S.T. stands for Bringing Education and Safety Together
  • The vision statement is: “Promote bicycling, walking, and public transportation (Active Transportation) in a way that engages the talents, energies and influence of the various advocacy groups and local, county and state resources, so that our collective efforts are aligned and coordinated, and Delaware’s active transportation initiatives are recognized  as a model program.
The Goal: Pilot an Active Transportation Program at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels during the 2014-15 school year, in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties. This program offers a low cost, inclusive way to meet Delaware’s Physical Education Standards and increase physical activity for students in Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
  1. Use the Lifetime Fitness B.E.S.T. Curriculum as the basis for the program at each school.  The curriculum is specific to the transportation abilities of several age groups (e.g. K-2, Gr. 3-5) and develops an understanding of – and interest in – active transportation over time.
  2. B.E.S.T. Members to support school personnel as they implement the program (e.g. email, on site, bring questions to a B.E.S.T. Meeting)
  3. B.E.S.T. Members and school personnel to evaluate program at the end of the year and offer recommendations.

If you support the mission of B.E.S.T., and want to become more involved, please email Ceci or John McCormick today: j.c.mccormick[at]

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Transitional Bike Lanes Proposed For Saint Georges Bridge

From our good friend Anthony Aglio, Delaware's Bicycle Coordinator with DelDOT

"We are going to implement something like this, as seen on the right. The configuration allows cyclists to transition (to cross the turn lane) when there is a gap in traffic without being pinched at the end. This design provides a clear option to bicyclists, who otherwise may have to stop at the end - to the right of the right turn-only lane and cross it. It delineates space for bicyclists, thereby reducing the potential for an altercation. I personally believe that right turning cars will not be expecting a quick left by the bicyclists at the very end. With this treatment, that will still be possible but not the only legal option."

Poster's note: The transitional right turn-only lane treatment can be found in the AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Bicycle Facilities, Chapter 4 "Design of On-Road Facilities". For more information on the guide, and how you can purchase one, visit HERE.

A transitional bike lane can be found on Glasgow Avenue, heading south from Rt.40. Initially, the bike lane marginalizes bicyclists along a gravel edge, which we do not approve of. Once transitioned, however, it clearly provides optimal positioning for bicyclists navigating traffic in and out of Peoples Plaza.

Just south of the transition, the bike lane follows exactly where it should, providing a clear path to the left of all right turn-only lanes. Motorists are clearly more respectful of bicyclists when properly designed bike lanes are present.

DelDOT Announces Pave & Rehab Projects For 2014

The following Newark area roads are on DelDOT's Pavement and Rehabilitation schedule for 2014:
  • Elkton Road, from the Maryland State Line to Route 4
  • Cleveland Avenue, from New London Road to Kirkwood Highway
  • Possum Park Road, Kirkwood Highway to Saint Regis Drive
  • Pike Creek Center Road, from New Linden Hill Road to Limestone Road
  • Airport Road, from Route 273 to Prestwick Drive
  • Commons Boulevard, from Route 141 to Airport Road
  • Walther Road, from Route 40 to Old Baltimore Pike
  • Harmony Road, from Route 273 to Kirkwood Highway
  • Wrangle Hill Road, from McCoy Road to White Birch Boulevard
  • South Chapel Street, from Delaware Avenue to dead end
  • Route 4, from Elkton Road to South College Avenue
  • South College Avenue, from Marvin Drive to I95

According to Delaware's Complete Streets Policy, DelDOT will account for all modes of transportation during road reconstruction projects. Though not required, they also assess roads for bicycle facilities during pavement and rehabilitation, and will consider improvements if readily adaptable. A prime example is Glasgow Ave, between Route 40 and 896 (pictured above) where conditions were drastically improved for bicyclists navigating mall traffic to and from Peoples Plaza. So it is very important that advocates and citizens alike take the time to comment.

If you have any suggestions for how the above roads might be improved for bicycle safety, please contact our State's Bicycle Coordinator, Anthony Aglio at: or comment below. The full statewide list can be found attached to the Bond Bill, starting at page 89.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pedal Powered Snow Plows!

Amazing piece of ingenuity. Not only is this great exercise, but enviro-friendly too when considering that small engine vehicles and tools are not bound by strict emission controls.

Condition of St Georges Bridge Bike Lanes "Deplorable"

By Nancy Waddell, White Clay Bicycle Club

For those of you who like using the Saint Georges Bridge to cross the canal, be aware that the bike lanes are in deplorable condition. The southbound is especially unsafe, and you are advised to ride at your own risk. Northbound has several duckies (plastic bollards for lane separation) missing and lots of debris on the lane but southbound is beyond words.

In addition to the damage and debris, DelDOT reintroduced right turn-only lanes. Apparently, they did a study and it was needed for cars going into Saint Georges. Therefore, the bike lane continues on the right, and in the final approach, you'll have to diagonally cross over 55+mph traffic to get onto the bridge. Notice in the video that I had to stop to make sure both lanes were clear - you can never tell when someone will
Then DelDOT Secretary Carolann Wicks
and Senator Tom Carper at the St Georges
Bridge Bike Lanes Dedication in 2010.

decide at the last minute to dart into the right lane. Once on the bridge the majority of duckies are missing, most likely from vehicles striking them. The duckies at the base were removed during reconstruction of the lane. At first I thought it was going to be made into a merge lane for cars coming out of Saint Georges but apparently that won't be the case.

I made the above video to share with some on the WCBC executive committee. They, as well as a few other people I know have informed DelDOT that it is a major safety concern. DelDOT indicates that construction isn't complete yet and the bike lanes will be restriped with permanent markings.

Cyclists take to the Saint Georges Bridge Bike Lanes soon after completion in 2010.

Poster's notes: 
Kudos to Nancy for bringing this issue to the forefront. For a complete history, including the opening ceremony, visit our Archive on this project. In studying the video, it does appear that the bike lane will be restored approaching the bridge, as indicated by hash marks. However, as Nancy clearly demonstrates, you must be fully aware of high speed traffic from the rear as you cross through the right turn only-lanes. We won't know how safe all of this will be until maintenance and re-stripe activities are completed. Must we settle for this design, let's hope cautionary signage and traffic calming measures are included, i.e. flashing yellow beacon(s).

Friday, January 17, 2014

WNJ: DelDOT assumes sidewalk snow clearing duty

Delaware On-line -- DelDOT spent more than a quarter of a million dollars clearing 70 miles of sidewalks after the last snowstorm, even as warming temperatures melted it before the work could be finished.

It is a new initiative the agency is taking on this year. Officials say they are performing the work to keep pedestrians safe and to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Otherwise, people walk in the roadway and set up circumstances for a tragedy,” said Jim Westoff, a DelDOT spokesman.

The program had its first run the weekend after the Jan. 2 storm. Over two days, the department deployed contractors up and down U.S. 202, Kirkwood Highway and Del. 4, among other byways.  [Keep reading ...]

Poster's note:  Kudos to DelDOT for taking this on. Let's hope this program includes the Route 72/S.Chapel Ext pathway, south from Newark. Nearly 10 years of advocacy efforts have failed to address this facility from a rehabilitation standpoint. It serves a critical role as one of a very few safe I95 crossings, and is very popular among bicyclists and pedestrians commuting to school or a job. Yet it is long ago forgotten by DelDOT where any kind of maintenance is concerned. Perhaps this is a vital first step toward recognizing these facilities as a viable means of transportation, as witnessed on Route 72 below.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Denmark, Netherlands, move over

Top 6 cycling cities in 2014 – head east!  (Europe, that is)

Submitted by Angela Connolly

From the Friday Flats -- We have all heard about the supersized bike-share systems in Western Europe, cycling superhighways in Scandinavia, and awesome bicycle friendly cities in the Netherlands and Denmark. But how is the situation in Eastern Europe? Once looked down on as “poor man’s transport”, bicycling is gaining popularity and becoming the trendy new choice for the millennials - generation Y - of Eastern Europe. We give you a small eye-opener to some of the greatest upcoming bicycle cities in Eastern Europe.  [Full article ..]

1 Budapest, Hungary
2. GdaƄsk, Poland
3. Lviv, Ukraine
4. Ljubljana, Slovenia
5. Bucharest, Romania
6. Tartu, Estonia

Poster's note: Timely submission given all the excitement surrounding Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and other well known bicycle-friendly cities that dominate the headlines.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Newark Power Plant Demonstration Draws Record Numbers

From Delaware On-Line -- The group Newark Residents Against the Power Plant held a candlelight vigil outside the municipal building here at dusk Wednesday, urging the city to find the proposed data-center project fails to meet the terms of Newark’s zoning code.

Leaders of the group called on city officials to “make the right decision” and deny a request for zoning verification from The Data Centers LLC. The company wants to build a data-processing facility and 248-megawatt power plant on 43 acres of the former Chrysler assembly plant.

More than 200 lined up along South Main Street Wednesday. Most carried candles, while others held red signs showing their opposition against the proposed plant.

“We’re here to reach out to the city, the City Council and the staff to ask them to make the right decision,” said Jen Wallace, one of the organizers. While the group’s members have different issues with the power plant, Wallace said they were all united by their opposition to it. “There’s actually lots of varied concerns about this project.”  [Full article ...]

Poster's note: A hearty round of applause for these Newark Residents - many on bicycles - who answered this 11th hour call to action. Backwards thinking, profits, and greed should never trump environment and quality of life. Yet this is exactly what the University of Delaware is threatening to do by turning the STAR Campus into one of the State's top 10 worst polluters. Shame on Gov. Jack Markell, Senator Chris Coons, and other legislators who have come out supporting this project at a time when Delaware's air quality is already unsafe. Climate change is another factor that goes unmentioned. Visit the No Newark Power Plant website for further details, and consider becoming involved!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Discover the Abandoned New Castle-Frenchtown Railroad - By Bike

Artist's rendition of the NC&F Railroad in Old New Castle, courtesy of Hugh Ryan Jr.

The New Castle-Frenchtown Railroad was started in 1832, and was one of the first railroads in the United States. It provided a vital link between the Delaware River and the Chesapeake Bay that was a fast and efficient route for north-south travelers. The stretch from Porter Road west to the Chesapeake Bay was abandoned in 1856, mainly due to competition which included the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.

The route of the abandoned section of the NC & F Railroad, relative to Elkton and Newark, is highlighted in blue. The route east of Porter can be traced northeast along the active Norfolk Southern Railroad to Old New Castle.

While most abandoned railroads happened in the mid-late 1960s with the advent of the Interstate Highway System, the New Castle-Frenchtown Railroad met an early demise during the mid-1800s railroad heyday. Fortunately for rail trail enthusiasts, some evidence remains of the old right of way (ROW), in spite of several sections that were developed prior to its adoption in the National Register of Historic Places. For an abundance of NC&F route maps and history, visit HERE.

Bird's eye view of the rail bank, facing  just west from DeLaws Road. This stretch runs about .2 miles to Forrestal Drive, and is one of a very few where the rail bed is clearly defined. See it on Google Maps HERE.
A stone platform runs perpendicular and across the ROW - purpose unknown.
Remains of an old bridge pylon across Belltown Run.
Rail "Sleeper" tie uncovered: The first rails were a hybrid of wood and steel, and mounted on drilled stones instead of wood or modern cement ties.
Pristine wildlife habitat can be viewed from the ROW.
For the superstitious among us, the New Castle-Frenchtown Railroad is a ghost train hunter's paradise. It is also a treasure trove of artifacts and transportation history, most easily explored by bike. And you can learn more about it with a visit to the Pencader Heritage Museum.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

NBP, UBP Weekend Events Roundup

Laura Wilburn, UBP's Executive Director
Crowds undeterred by heavy wind and rain, mob UBP Grand Opening

After searching for a new home for six months, the Urban Bike Project has officially moved into a new space in the historic city-owned building that once housed Wilmington’s police horses.

To celebrate, they had a spectacular Grand Re-Opening on Friday, January 10. Attendance was much better than expected.

According to UBP officials, the 6,440-square-foot location at 1500 N. Walnut St. will give the group more space and greater visibility in the community, while not straying far from its 3-year-old home off North Market near East 19th and Race streets.

Check out our on-line album for more event pictures, including raffle drawing and prizes.

L-R: Jim, Laura, Brian, Sarah, and David pose with the grand prize, just prior to drawing the winner.

Newark Bike Project's first tabling event for 2014 drew steady interest at Newark Charter School

On Saturday, January 11, volunteers from the Newark Bike Project manned a table at the school's Fitness Fair. This event, which showcased fitness, activity, and healthy eating habits, was very well attended. Students and parents stopped by the table to learn about NBP and bicycling, and picked up buttons, educational brochures, bicycle maps, and other handouts. Many of the parents expressed an interest in bicycling as a healthy family activity. Volunteers provided advice, and encouraged the parents to visit NBP to take advantage of the services that they offer to the community - bikes for sale, bike repairs, parts, mechanic's training, special programs, and of course, the opportunity to become a volunteer and get involved! This event was a great start to what the Newark Bike Project hopes will be a year filled with more opportunities to reach out to the community and spread the word about all the great bicycling related activities that they offer!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hubbert's Curve, and what it could mean for bicycling

M. King Hubbert accurately predicted in 1956 that U.S. oil production would peak between 1965 and 1971. He was correct. The Hubbert logistic model, now called Hubbert Peak Theory, and its variants have been used to describe and predict the peak and decline of production from regions, and countries, and has also been applied to other limited resource production domains. According to the Hubbert model, the production rate of a limited resource will follow a roughly symmetrical logistic distribution curve (sometimes incorrectly compared to a normal distribution) based on the limits of exploitability and market pressures. Now, as demonstrated in the chart below, we have many predictions for world oil production, with most going into decline after 2010.

There are numerous predictions, but most follow a similar curve. Despite mass media frenzy, Fracking will never see the U.S. return to 1973 production levels, is disastrous to the environment, and is only delaying the inevitable.

Some observers, such as petroleum industry experts Kenneth S. Deffeyes and Matthew Simmons, predict negative global economy implications following a post-peak production decline and oil price increase because of the high dependence of most modern industrial transport, agricultural, and industrial systems on the low cost and high availability of oil. Where bicycling is concerned, the prospects could be enormous. 1973, the year of the Arab Oil Embargo, still holds the record for bicycle sales in America. Like snow shovels at Home Depot on the eve of a blizzard, bike shops couldn't keep bicycles in stock.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, sales rocketed to 15.2 million units (20+" wheel size) in 1973. It was obvious why. Not only was gasoline very expensive, but station owners set their pumps to run at a trickle, causing massive lines. Often times, fights would ensue when someone was suspected of cutting in line. And those of us who biked back then remember a terrible increase in driver impatience and aggression. Folks looked for anything they could find to save gas, and unfortunately, went about it with rage. But it did provide a much needed boost to the bicycle industry. Among the most popular models sold in the early '70s were the Peugeot UO8, Raleigh Grand Prix, Fuji Del Ray, Schwinn Varsity, among others. These bikes typically sold in the $100-$150 range.

So are we heading for a similar scenario all over again? It depends who you listen to. Industry analysts, of course, paint the rosiest picture - while others like James Howard Kunstler and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas are certain we are heading into a long emergency that no alternative energy source can back fill.

One thing is for certain; should we see a steady decline in oil availability, the price of gasoline will rise dramatically, forcing many folks to think outside the box where transportation is concerned. It could be a windfall for bicycle companies, bike shops, co-ops, and anyone else involved in the manufacture, repair, and sale of bicycles. And depending on who you believe, it could happen very soon, perhaps by 2015 - this time permanently. Below is a documentary on the subject, with some very compelling arguments.

Have the Obits For Peak Oil Come Too Soon?
Fears of global oil crisis aired at Transatlantic Energy Security Dialogue

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tour De Paranormal, 2 Years Ago

The past few Winters did not start out this cold, and there were many rides to prove it. Included in some of them was ghost hunting. In 2012, we explored White Clay Creek State Park in search of the paranormal.

The above photo, taken at the Baptist Meeting House cemetary, is very strange indeed. After examining this headstone, Bruce Wilburn walks toward the camera as I snap the photo. As a skeptic of the paranormal, I readily wrote this off as my breath, given temps were dipping below freezing. However, no matter how hard we tried, no amount of breathing in front of the lens could recreate it.

Then we headed north. Clinton Road, in West Milford NJ (where I biked many times in years past), was also quite interesting. Most of the time, we think of houses and buildings haunted. In this case, we have a haunted road, and it's even featured in Wikipedia:

Clinton Road is located in West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. It runs in a generally north-south direction, beginning at Route 23 near Newfoundland and running roughly 10 miles (16 km) to its northern terminus at Upper Greenwood Lake. The road and the land around it have gained notoriety over the years as an area rife with many legends of paranormal occurrences such as sightings of ghosts, strange creatures and gatherings of witches, Satanists and other cult-like activities. It is also rumored that professional killers dispose of bodies in the surrounding woods - with one recorded case of this occurring. It has been a regular subject of discussion in Weird NJ magazine, which once devoted an entire issue to it. In the words of a local police chief, "It's a long, desolate stretch and makes the imagination go nuts."

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Above, enjoy a virtual tour of Clinton Road.

A plaque found on one of several bridges along Clinton Road. On the surface, the road appears about as innocent as they come. But curiosity kills the cat, and nothing was going to hold us back. Not even the cold of Winter.

The adventure begins. About a half mile into the ride, we encountered a police officer, who thought we were totally nuts for being out on such a cold night - in the dark, and riding on Clinton Road.

Amy, enjoying a moment at Dead Man's Curve.

Strange creatures, from hellhounds to monkeys and unidentifiable hybrids, have allegedly been seen at night. If not of supernatural origin, they are said to have been survivors of Jungle Habitat, a nearby attraction abandoned in 1976, that managed to survive and crossbreed.

Well, no strange creatures, mystery headlights, or paranormal activity ... but then, the ride started at dusk and we were still several hours from midnight!