Bike Week 2019 Gets Riders Out in Rochester

Cycling advocate Richard Fries, in town to serve as announcer for the Twilight Criterium, also led a slow ride highlighting bike infrastructure around Rochester.


Rochester’s Bike Week 2019 was a huge success! Thanks so much to the ride leaders and organizers for collaborating with us. Bike Week kicked off Friday, May 10th with the RCA’s annual Light Up The Night Ride. The weather was a little chilly but everyone had a good time decorating their bikes with glow sticks and riding around town. Saturday was area cyclists’ favorite day of the year: the MVP Twilight Criterium put on by Full Moon Vista. Kecia and Black Girls Do Bike went on a ROC Urban Slow Ride with announcer Richard Fries. At the same time, Jesse Peers led his first George Eastman Bike Tour of the year for George Eastman Museum. Families converged on downtown for the Criterium races in the evening.

Weather was awful for Mother’s Day so rides resumed Monday with Flower City Bike Party’s Welcome to Rochester Ride. On Tuesday, riders got their pick between the city’s Tuesday Guided Bike Tour and the Rochester Bike Kids’ Taco Tuesday Ride. The biggest ride of the week, the annual Ride of Silence, occurred on Wednesday as area cyclists rode for safer streets in solidarity with those harmed and killed while riding their bikes. The weekly Unity Rides resumed on Thursday, this time with a couple RPD bike patrol officers accompanying us.

Friday morning the RCA conducted a Bike To Work Day bagel & coffee giveaway beside the Union Street Cycle track to give commuters the chance to fuel up for their commutes. Deputy Mayor James Smith and many commuters from City Hall were present for Mayor Warren’s Bike Week proclamation. That evening, riders got to choose between the annual Beechwood Ride and the Tryon Bike Social Ride. Cyclists headed over to the Flower City Arts Center on Saturday for the free bike wash. Though the thundershowers postponed Sunday’s annual Seersucker Ride, 15 riders chose to ride anyway before the storm hit. Join us Sunday June 2nd at 10am at Abundance Food Co-op for the Seersucker Ride makeup date.

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Upcoming: Rochester Women’s Bike Festival

Don’t miss this year’s Rochester Women’s Bike Festival on 15 June! Focused on beginners, the event is overflowing with talks and workshops about how to bike safely and enjoyably around Rochester. Learn about traffic rules, gear, maintenance, routes, and more. Breakfast and lunch are included, ASL interpretation is provided, and daycare is available. Lucky attendees will win bikes from Yellow Haus, DreamBikes, and a personal donation. Admission is free, so register now. The event runs 9-4 on 15 June at the Adams Street Recreation Center, 85 Adams Street.

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In the News: Bike to School Day 2019

Rochester-area media outlets are noticing the growing momentum of bikes in our communities, if their coverage of Bike to School Day is any indicator. WHAM aired this segment focusing on the Bike to School Day event at School 23 in Rochester, and WHEC aired this segment giving an overview of the event.

It’s no accident that Bike to School Day is getting noticed–lots of schools are hosting events, and lots of community leaders are participating. At Indian Landing School in Penfield, more than 150 people rode in last Wednesday’s Bike to School Day event, including Penfield Town Supervisor Tony LaFountain and Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle. Penfield school superintendent Dr. Thomas Putnam greeted riders at the school as they arrived. At Jefferson Road Elementary in Pittsford, more than 150 people biked, including Town Supervisor Bill Smith and two members of the Town and Village Boards. At School 23 in Rochester, more than 60 people biked, including Principal John Gonzalez. The group was greeted by Interim Superintendent Dan Lowengard as they arrived at the school. At Manor Intermediate School in Honeoye Falls, 100 people biked, including Superintendent Eugene Mancuso and Principal Jeanine Lupisella. (See more about their event on this post on facebook, and this one and this one on Twitter.) In Brighton, Council Rock Primary School, French Road Elementary, and Twelve Corners Middle School all participated. Twelve Corners had about 150 riders, French Road had even more riders than last year’s count of 240, and Council Rock has expanded their event to span the whole week–nice. Big thanks go to all those leaders for their support of bike transportation!

Bike to School Day is a national event held the first Wednesday of every May, with thousands of schools participating. Its goal is to highlight biking and walking as great ways to get from place to place, not just one day each year, but every day. Biking and walking improve our physical fitness, make us healthier emotionally, reduce climate change, cost less than driving a car, and build community by putting us closer to our neighbors. And teaching our kids to go places by walking and biking lets them take on freedom and responsibility gradually and in age-appropriate ways. A kid with a bike isn’t stuck in his room with video games and social media all day!

Organizing a Bike to School Day event at your own school is really easy, and the Rochester Cycling Alliance would be glad to help–just send us an email. You can also bike with your own kids on the way to school, start a bike train with lots of kids biking to school and a few parents taking turns riding along, or let your older kids bike to school on their own. (My friends and I started in third grade.) You can also talk to your school about incorporating bikes and bike safety into physical education classes; the New York Bicycling Coalition has a curriculum ready to go.

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Rochester Bike Week 2019

It’s Bike Week in Rochester! In fact, Bike Week is so full of great events that it’s swollen to more than a week, running 10-19 May, 2019. So whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a curious new rider, you can get involved in lots of events to kick off the summer cycling season and explore Rochester on two wheels. All of these events are on the RCA Calendar, which includes more details (click the + at bottom right to get them on your calendar, too). Get a load of them:

  • The Light up the Night Ride, with glow sticks and prizes, starts 10 May at 7:30 pm at 131 Elmwood Ave.
  • The George Eastman Bike Tour, rolling through Rochester history, starts 11 May at 10 am at George’s place (900 East Ave).
  • The Twilight Criterium will race through the streets of downtown Rochester at breakneck speed on the evening of 11 May.
  • Kidical Mass will take a family ride for Mothers’ Day on 12 May at 10 am.
  • The Flower City Bike Party Ride will cruise through the southeast neighborhoods on 13 May, starting at 6:30 pm at 275 East Main St.
  • The City of Rochester will start its Tuesday Guided Bike Tours on 14 May at 6 pm at the Lake Riley Lodge in Cobbs Hill Park.
  • Rochester Bike Kids will stage their first Taco Tuesday Ride of 2019 on 14 May at 7 pm at 489 South Ave.
  • The Ride of Silence will have cyclists riding in solidarity for safer streets with better bike infrastructure on 15 May, starting at 7 pm at 275 East Main St.
  • The first of this summer’s Unity Rides will begin at 7 pm on 16 May at 855 West Main St.
  • It’s national Bike to Work Day on 17 May, and RCA will be offering free coffee and snacks through the morning at Union and Broad Sts.
  • The Beechwood Ride will tour that neighborhood on 17 May, starting at 5:30 at 530 Webster Ave.
  • Meanwhile, the Tryon Bike Week Social Ride will start at 6 pm at 80 Rockwood Place.
  • Get the grime off your ride at a free bike wash, 18 May 10 am to 3 pm at 713 Monroe Ave.
  • The Reconnect Rochester Beechwood Complete Streets Makeover will turn a dangerous intersection into a welcoming place for bikes, pedestrians, and drivers; help make the makeover happen 10 am to 2 pm on 18 May at 441 Parsells Ave.
  • Last but not least, the Seersucker Ride will take us out in style on 19 May, starting at 10 am at 571 South Ave.

Check out the RCA Calendar for links, contact information, descriptions, and more!

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Help keep bike share on Hudson Avenue

It’s April in Rochester, so our Pace bikeshare program has returned from hibernation, and bikes are back on the streets. In fact, I took my first bikeshare ride of the season yesterday, and it got me from a lunch meeting at U of R to an afternoon meeting in the East End for just $1, in less than 15 minutes, on a warm and lovely day, when I didn’t have my own bike with me.

As maybe you realize, $1 per ride isn’t enough to support the bikeshare program. Each of the dozens of Pace docks in Rochester exists because city government, businesses, community organizations, and citizens have come together to provide $9000 per year. Some docks bring customers and are enthusiastically supported by businesses whose earnings increase much more than the cost of the dock. But to really grow active transportation in Rochester, we need the bikeshare network to cover lots of places people go, and to extend to under-served populations for whom low-cost bike transportation is not just a novelty, but a true economic opportunity.

That’s why I urge you to help keep bike share on Hudson Avenue by making a donation for the dock there. Our friends at Reconnect Rochester fund the dock with a yearly campaign. You can read their well-stated explanation (and also find out about the perks of becoming a supporter). Donate here. I did!

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Canal Trail in Gates closing until Memorial Day, at least

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, the Canal Trail will be closed near I-390 in Gates from 22 April until Memorial Day or later. Cyclists are advised to find an alternate route. You can read more here.

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Support the Active Transportation Summit

The Rochester Cycling Alliance is co-sponsoring the 2019 Active Transportation Summit, organized by Common Ground Health. Scheduled for May 23, 8:30-4 at the Rochester Riverside Hotel, the summit is themed “Ideas into Motion”. It will feature consultant and activist Mark Fenton as the keynote speaker, New York State Department of State Director of Smart Growth and Planning Paul Beyer as the plenary speaker, and sixteen breakout sessions. You can learn more and get tickets here. And you can support the summit with a donation using the button below. Hope to see you on 23 May!




2019 Active Transportation Summit banner

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Speak up for cycle tracks on Main Street

The City of Rochester is planning work on two sections of Main St.: from St. Paul St. to State St., and from Goodman St. to Culver Rd. Cycle tracks (bike lanes separated from motor traffic by a curb) are included in one of the design options for each section. The Rochester Cycling Alliance supports cycle tracks for these projects! Cycle tracks promote the highest level of safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles including buses.

We hope you will take just a minute, right now, to send letters expressing your support of cycle tracks. We’ve written this draft letter about St. Paul to State, and this draft letter about Goodman to Culver, which you can use as templates to get started. Be sure to insert your own name and address where appropriate, and send both letters to the Hon. Norman Jones, the City’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, who is overseeing the design process. You could also send copies to Mayor Lovely A. Warren, Deputy Mayor James P. Smith, Councilman Malik Evans, and Project Manager Jeff Mroczek. Happy letter writing! Happy citizenship!

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Canal Path + Riverway Trail = 10,000 users weekly

We posted a few weeks ago about great new data from the Genesee Transportation Council showing just how much the Riverway Trail gets used–a lot! Now we can share preliminary data, also from GTC, about usage of the Erie Canal Path. During the week of 1 September, more than 4000 people used the Canal Path at the NY-15A bridge. Add that to the Riverway Trail numbers, and you find more than 10,000 users of these great community resources. Let’s make sure they are supported and expanded!

For all you wonks, here’s the data:
Sat, Sep 1, 2018: 800
Sun, Sep 2, 2018: 603
Mon, Sep 3, 2018: 683
Tue, Sep 4, 2018: 519
Wed, Sep 5, 2018: 400
Thu, Sep 6, 2018: 478
Fri, Sep 7, 2018: 653

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Teaching English and Cycling in Kazan

Karen shows a student in Kazan the finer points of bicycle maintenance.

An update from Karen Lankeshofer, longtime Cycling Alliance member and Henrietta resident who is teaching in Kazan, Russia:

In July 2017, I got an email from a former ESL student of mine asking me if I wanted to teach English at her friend’s private school in Kazan, Russia. I jumped at the chance and was here within 7 weeks. If any of you are soccer fans, you will know that Kazan hosted many of the World Cup matches during last summer. The city lies about 500 miles east of Moscow and is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a state in the Russian Federation.

The population is about half Tatar and half ethnic Russian. Signs are written in the Tatar and Russian languages, sometimes also in English. The city is dotted with mosques and orthodox churches and without a doubt is the most tolerant city I have ever experienced.

Tatarstan is a very wealthy area with oil and chemical production. Being so far from Europe, it has been mainly influenced by Persia, Mongolia, China, and other eastern parts of the world throughout its history. Genghis Khan controlled the area for many years.

With its considerable wealth, Tatarstan realizes it needs to have more people who are proficient in English to function better in European marketplaces. That’s why my school has me teaching a group of 3- and 4-year-olds English. It is a total immersion program; my aides and I only speak English with these children. It was difficult at the beginning last September because the kids knew no English and were used to getting their own way. Parents were also skeptical until they started seeing results about this time last year. Now they are true believers. The older kids use full sentences which are sometimes grammatically incorrect, but still perfectly understandable. Even the younger ones understand everything and repeat individual words or phrases. It’s been a rewarding one and a half years in the classroom, but it’s also strenuous.

My first purchase in Kazan was a folding bike, which I take on the subway when I’m headed downtown and use to get all over the city, except in winter. The weather is extreme here and, even if I could ride through the deep snow, I don’t relish slipping on the ever-present ice and breaking a leg.

Last February I attended the Winter Cycling Conference in Moscow and met some officials from Kazan who are really motivated to improve the cycling scene here in the city. I thought, “If they can do something, so can I!”, and convinced my school to let me start a bike club.

It’s been a huge success. The mountain biking champion of Russia gives bike lesson to the littlest kids on small bikes without pedals, and I give lessons to the first graders, mostly talking about safety but also taking excursions on trails in the woods. We involve all the kids and have had a family riding day; plus, the head of the Rotary Club here, who just completed a bike trip around the world, has come to talk to our kids. He and I are now working together to spread my school’s program to other schools. And the parents are ecstatic that their kids are leaving their bikes at school all fall to ride on the track we painted on the school courtyard. One parent told us his kid’s bike usually sits in the cellar all summer.

All in all, this has been a great experience for me. I have friends from around the world with whom I undertake a lot of different adventures here in Russia, and I see that they bike revolution is truly an international phenomenon.

I’ll be home in August to start patching inner tubes again. Keep up all your good work and I’ll see you then.

Karen L.

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