Biking through the winter

Cycling through the winter can seem daunting! Northern Colorado brings more than its fair share of  icy roads, blizzards, blowing snow, freezing rain and more. Add to this that the sun goes down by 5pm every day and it’s easy to see how a lot of cyclists find it simpler to garage their bikes than brave the winter riding.
Riding in winter can be so much fun, though, and in Fort Collins I’ve found that often the bike paths are plowed before the roads are! Cycling in Northern Colorado can also be perfectly safe . . . as long as the proper precautions are taken.
Cycling safety in the winter is fairly common-sense: use front and rear lights (at least!) to ensure maximum visibility. Wear light colored and/or reflective clothing. Keep a sharp eye out for traffic and try to use bike paths as much as possible.
Running your tires at lower pressure can increase traction (but don’t go below the recommended minimum)! Maintain your bike after every ride to keep brake and shifting systems functioning smoothly, and make sure to dry and lube your chain after wet rides.
Safety is only part of the equation: staying warm and comfortable is important too, especially in maintaining safety. Our friends over at REI, who kindly helped sponsor our 10th Anniversary Party with a generous donation of cycling accessories, have a vast offering of comfortable, warming underclothes, pants, fleeces, sweaters, jackets, hats, gloves and specialty items, like balaclavas and scarves and neck gaiters, to help keep your ride as comfortable as possible.
Cycling throughout the winter can be fun and adventurous. As long as the proper precautions are taken, you can cycle all year round.

Keep it safe riding in the rain!

Handlebars in the rain
image by viwima

The unusually wet weather lately has a lot of cyclists stumped about staying safe on the road…we’re just not used to this kind of moisture in Colorado! A couple of tips for riding in the rain:
-Nobody likes getting sprayed soaking wet while riding. Fenders are a great way to keep rain and road debris off of you while riding. They can help protect your frame from dings by road debris as well.
-Keep your bike’s performance in top shape by drying and lubricating your chain after riding in inclement weather.
-Consider your surroundings and your bike’s responsiveness. Your bike won’t respond as quickly in wet conditions as it normally would, so braking needs to be anticipated with adjusted expectations.
-Rain reduces visibility for everybody, so wearing reflective clothing or accessories (ankle straps, coat tags/pulls/details, Watch for Bikes! stickers…) and working lights and reflectors on your bike is a must -especially at night! Drivers are experiencing reduced visibility too: make yourself as highly visible as possible to reduce the opportunities for accidents.
As always, ride safely!

Bike Co-op’s “Watch for Bikes!” Campaign Takes Off

The Safe Cycling Program of the Bike Co-op ordered 10,000 “watch for bikes” stickers last winter and has gone through nearly all of them. While the stickers are designed

to go on the bottom of the rear view mirror on the driver’s side of your car, the City has decided to put them on the windshield just below the oil change sticker. So far we’ve delivered 1200 stickers to the City motor pool.
At the CSU Smart transportation fair two weeks ago three campus agencies requested stickers and we ended up giving out 3,000 to the CSU motor pool, parking services, and the CSU Police Department. Parking services intends to distribute a sticker to anyone who gets a parking permit to park on campus.
Finally, the County motor pool called and requested 600 stickers for the smaller county vehicles. Hopefully they’ll find them valuable on every single county vehicle.
The stickers are popular among school kids (any sticker is) and they don’t last long on foreheads or the backs of hands. But they last on bike helmets and on bikes where a lot of them have ended up. They also look great on bathroom mirrors in middle schools and Old Town bars.
If you know of a business with a lot of vehicles that might make use of these, write stickers@fcbikecoop.org and we’ll see that they get a few hundred!

Bike Co-op Report on Listening Sessions Forwarded to City Council

Experimental share the road arrows or "sharrows" on Laurel in 2006 were replaced with simple share the road signs.
Experimental share the road arrows or "sharrows" on Laurel in 2006 were replaced with simple share the road signs.

As a result of its community “listening sessions” in April and May, the Co-op submitted the following recommendations to the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) at the May 2010 meeting. We are happy to report that the BAC adopted the recommendations in their entirety and submitted them to City Council!
The Bike Co-op held its final listening session Wednesday, May 5th. This meeting served to summarize citizens’ comments made during eight previous sessions held throughout the City and to prioritize action items for referral to City Planners, Transportation Planners and citizen’s boards and commissions.
There was unanimous consent to offer the following recommendation:
“The community should take steps to improve bicycle safety and efficiency through a comprehensive bicycle safety education program and through enhanced engineering efforts. The education should target motorists, cyclist, K-12 children, and CSU students while the engineering enhancements should include:
The creation of bicycle boulevards ( like Vine, Swallow, Stover, Canyon, Stuart, etc.) for efficient long distance movement of bikes between and among “activity centers,” across town and between existing corridors, including the Mason Trail, the Powerline Trail, the Poudre Trail and the Spring Creek Trail;
Installation of additional signal actuation devices at stop lights, including the use of default modes to facilitate bicycle travel;
The use of sharrows (shared lane arrows) and improved “Share the Road” signs that include the secondary sign “Bikes use full lane.”
The group reviewed the list of 120 items from the previous meetings and prioritized seventeen items (in random order):
More grade separated crossings at intersections and along major trails;
“Share-the-Road” signs should include “Bikes Use Full Lane” secondary sign;
Increase bike/ped accessibility on and across College in “mid-town;”
Add/improve bicycle lanes along North Shields, North College, Gregory, Lemay and others;
Decrease speed limits near campus to 25 mph;
Add “scramble intersections” (also called diagonal crossings and nicknamed the “Barnes Dance”) for Henry Barnes, an innovative traffic engineer at College and Mountain, Laurel and College, and Shields and Elizabeth for bikes and pedestrians;
Add lighting on trails for safety (including use of motion detectors with lights);
Make broader use of sharrows now that they are approved by the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Code Devices);
Utilize more PR campaigns such as the “Coexist” campaign;
Target scofflaw cyclists for education;
Improve east-west access to, from and between the Mason and Powerline trails;
Enforce laws consistently;
Create more bicycle boulevards;
Improve signal actuation for bicycles or have signals default to green for cyclists;
Educate motorists about the rights of cyclists and the benefits of bicycling;
Educate K-12 children on bicycle safety;
Educate CSU students on bicycle safety;”