Nelson Vails visit sponsored by Conkey Cruisers, 25-27 September

Conkey Cruisers, founded by RCA board member Theresa Bowick, will host Olympic medalist and cycling advocate Nelson “Nelly” Vails in Rochester 25-27 September. You can join him to see Cheetah: The Nelson Vails Story, attend a lunch & learn panel about the health benefits of legalizing electric bikes, ride with Nelly on a Slow Roll in Buffalo, hear Nelly on WDKX, see a Celebrity Tricycle Race, and ride again on a Family Fun Ride. Get more details here!

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City to Nature Ride with Genessee Land Trust

As part of the first annual ‘Bike Your Park Day’ happening across the United States, Genesee Land Trust will be leading a City to Nature ride, happening Saturday, 24 September at 10:00. We will begin the ride on El Camino at Conkey Corner Park and ride north to Turning Point Park and Lake Ontario, and back. After the ride, any and all are welcome to join us at the Genesee Brew House for a late lunch, as Genesee Land Trust will be the featured charity and 10% of your bill will go to Genesee Land Trusts mission of preserving open space and connecting nature to the City of Rochester.

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Bringing electric bikes to New York

This essay by Paul Winkeller, Executive Director of the New York Bicycling Coalition, originally appeared in the Buffalo News on 6 September 2016.

In 2002, federal law was amended to distinguish bicycles with low-power electric motors capable of reaching speeds of 20 mph or less, known as electric bicycles, from motorcycles, mopeds, and motor vehicles.

The New York State Legislature never changed state law to conform to this federal standard.

Although it is completely legal to sell and purchase electric bicycles in New York, it is illegal to operate them on public roadways. This creates confusion for manufacturers and consumers in this fast-growing market. It is time for New York to clarify where and how electric bicycles can be used.

Electric bicycles operate nearly identically to a traditional human-powered bicycle, but are easier to pedal with assistance from an electric motor that is activated when pedaling. Electric bicycles do not compromise consumer safety.
While research shows that the average speed of electric bicycle users on roadways is slightly faster than that of regular bicycle users, there have not been any significant increases in bike collisions, trail user conflicts, safety complaints or litigation with the growth in popularity of electric bicycles.

Electric bicycles benefit senior citizens, parents with children and people with disabilities by providing freedom of transportation and mobility. These bicycles also appeal to people who want to bike but do not because of physical limitations and other personal barriers. Encouraging bicycle ridership by any means benefits the environment and improves the state’s air quality, traffic congestion and quality of life.

Legalizing the use of electric bicycles will bring bicycle-based dollars to New York’s tourism destinations, and will bring increased business to New York’s local bicycle shops and bicycle and accessory manufacturers. Electric bicycles also benefit the environment and local economies by using green battery technology, and will add to New York’s growing energy-efficient transportation system.
In the United States, the bike industry estimates more than 200,000 e-bikes will be sold in 2015, and this number is set to increase by 10 percent annually. New York State could benefit from the sale of electric bicycles with their legalization, and it is estimated by industry sources that annual electric bicycle sales could exceed 10,000 units per year in the state.

Legalizing e-bike use in New York is a benefit to both riders and to the state. Many states already allow e-bikes to be used and California just expanded its e-bike authorization.

Encouraging bicycle use is a safe way to help the environment by limiting congestion, supporting healthy living, promoting New York’s robust and diverse tourism industry and helping local economies.

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Making connections at the Women’s Safe Cycling Summit

An enthusiastic group participated in the Women’s Safe Cycling Summit organized by Karen Lankeshofer and held at the Legacy at Erie Station in Henrietta, on September 10. The participants, with riding skills ranging from novice to expert, heard keynote speaker Theresa Bowick of Conkey Cruisers explain how she changed a community through cycling and making healthy choices. Harvey Botzman of the Rochester Cycling Alliance led a discussion on advocating for better infrastructure for cyclists and walkers; Maria Furgiuele of R Community Bikes gave a workshop on basic bike maintenance and repair.

Participants discussed how they could work further to create change in their communities that would benefit all non-motorized traffic users. But the biggest take-away of the event was that a connections were made and a group of people found individuals with whom they shared common interests and goals.

The Summit was sponsored by The Pedallers Bike Shop and Legacy at Erie Station.

Posted in Advocacy

On Spokes & Folks: Bike to School Day

On 15 August, the local radio show Spokes & Folks featured Bike to School Day activities around Rochester as its topic. Host (and RCA board member) Dan Lill led a discussion with guests Karen Lankeshofer, Glenn Cerosaletti, and Doug Kelley. Listen here to a great conversation about ways to get our kids more active and build our communities through cycling!

And since that episode, here’s an example of the way things should be: lots of use of the bike rack for students at staff at the Rush-Henrietta Central School District’s Good Shepherd site.

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Why Small Things Matter: Artistic Bike Racks in a Transitional Neighborhood

by Monica Finger, NeighborWorks® Rochester

The intersection between healthy, stable, and prosperous neighborhoods and those neighborhoods that support infrastructure for alternative transportation is well-documented. Communities that are walkable and ‘bike-able’ have reduced congestion, pollution, and noise; they promote interaction and neighborly connectedness at a grassroots level; they are visually appealing and desirable. Such neighborhoods also may be less likely to suffer from disinvestment, as the “walkability of an area increases the per-foot price of commercial and residential spaces” [1].

NeighborWorks® Rochester, a non-profit community development organization founded in 1979, provides many services to tenants and homeowners in the Rochester area, including first-time homebuyer counseling, financial fitness education, low-interest loans and grants for home improvement, and free energy assessments. One of NeighborWorks® Rochester’s initiatives, Healthy Blocks, makes a 5-year commitment to a transitional city neighborhood — one that could either experience a regeneration or slip into poverty and disinvestment [2] — and works with residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to stabilize property values, increase resident investment, and improve neighborhood image.

When Healthy Blocks chose The Triangle of North Winton Village (the neighborhood bordered by Culver, Merchants, and East Main) as its target neighborhood, there was a noticeable lack of bike racks in its commercial district — only one set, and not much to look at. Now, if you visit the Triangle point (and you should — it’s home to some fantastic local places like James Brown’s Place, L & M Lanes, Johnny’s Irish Pub, and Merchant’s Bar and Grill), you’ll see four unique, detailed, functional, and visually striking artistic racks made by local artists Matty & Clay (MetalSomeArt) and Jesse Hughson of SkillHoarder.

So, what does it take to turn artistic bike racks from a dream into a reality? Well, besides patience, the short answer is the power of collaboration. NeighborWorks® America provided the grant funding, a team of residents helped to prepare the Request for Art and review submissions, the fabricators crafted the racks with care and quality, the City of Rochester installed them, and Healthy Blocks coordinated it all. Efforts like this — that bring permanent community assets into a neighborhood — may have a small footprint, but the impact can be enormous. Our hope is not only that more people ride their bikes to the area instead of driving, but that these structures will become points of pride, defining elements of place and space that transcend to the level of neighborhood icons. We want one neighbor to say to another: “Meet me at The Triangle, by the bike rack with the fork on it.”

Why not come celebrate these new racks with us? Healthy Blocks is holding an event to promote the artists, the businesses, and the neighborhood on Friday, September 16, from 4 to 7 pm in the Culver-Merchants parking lot outside 1382 Culver Rd. More information is available at the Triangle Facebook page. You’ll have a chance to admire the sculptures, talk with the artists, meet the neighbors of the Triangle, and check out the local fare. Better yet, ride your bike and park it at the rack and get special discounts from participating merchants. In the meantime, you can win a $30 gift certificate to Tryon Bike Shop by cycling up to the racks, taking a picture of you and your bike and posting it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #trianglebikerack included.

See you there! Want to publicize this event around town? Use this flier.

[2] HUD designated a census tract as poverty-level when it reaches 20% poverty. Rochester has the third highest concentration of poverty census tracts in the US. When neighborhoods reach 20% poverty, there is a very small chance that they will recover and stabilize. The Healthy Blocks initiative chooses neighborhoods that are close to 20% poverty to work in. The Triangle’s poverty rate is currently 17%.

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Bike-in Movie 11 August at the Public Market

Here’s a great way to enjoy summer on two wheels: a bike-in movie! On 11 August, after Richard Fries’ talk, you can roll over to the Public Market to see the 1983 feature film BMX Bandits. Music and socializing start at 8:00 pm, then the movie starts at 9:00. The event is jointly sponsored by Rochester Cycling Alliance and the City of Rochester. Find out more here and sign up for the Facebook event.

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Richard Fries speaks about cycling & city revitalization 11 August

Richard Fries, Executive Director of MassBike, will lead a discussion 11 August about cycling, urban development and revitalization, and attracting and retaining the millennial generation. Join in! The event will start with a reception at 5:30, continue with Richard’s presentation at 6:00, and wrap up with a question and answer session at 7:30, all at the Strong National Museum of Play. Find more information here, and email Shana at Full Moon Vista if you plan to attend.

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Two great events on 13 August

Saturday, 13 August 2016 will be a great day to get involved in cycling! First, the Eastside YMCA Charity Ride will offer routes of 50, 20, and 10 miles starting from the Y at 8:00 am, 9:30, and 10:00, respectively. Post-ride festivities will continue until 1:00, and all proceeds benefit the YMCA. Register here. Second, the Rochester Twilight Criterium will bring top-ranked professional cyclists to a fast-paced race through downtown Rochester. The first of many amateur races starts at 3:15, the pros start at 6:25, and awards will be presented at 10:15 pm. Expect high-intensity racing, vendors, food trucks, and a big, electrified crowd. What a day!

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New bike lanes on Crittenden Boulevard

There’s great news for the thousands of people who come and go from University of Rochester Medical Center every day: new bike lanes on Crittenden Boulevard! The bike lanes run the entire length of Crittenden in both directions, from Mt. Hope Avenue to Kendrick Road, and are separated from motor traffic by a painted margin.

Do you know of other improvements and upgrades to bike infrastructure around Rochester? Drop us a line.

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