Time to prepare for commuting in the rain


Clouds hover over the Tower Bridge as the sun rises Friday morning in Sacramento

It’s been a cloudy week in Sacramento – the first wisp of fall – a reminder that rain could arrive at any time. And even though the National Weather Service is predicting a warm, sunny week ahead, now is a good time to start putting together all the essentials needed for commuting in the rain.
There are a couple of good websites out there that can help. The EcoVelo website has a great post called, “Bike Commuting 101: Rain Riding.” Also, the League of American Bicyclists has a helpful page called, “Tips for Commuters.”



Posted from West Sacramento, California, United States.

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Sacramento streets go on a road diet


A bicyclist takes advantage of the newly painted bike lane on G Street in Sacramento Thursday morning near 11th Street.

More bike lanes are being painted on streets in downtown Sacramento. Most of the work is in the western and southern parts of downtown. A story in the Sacramento Bee quotes transportation officials as refering to the shrinking of one-way three lane streets to two lanes as a “road diet.” See the story here.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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October: Last year, storms. This year, heat.


Fishermen aim their boat up the American River on Monday morning near the Highway 160 bridge in Sacramento.

What a difference a year makes. Last year, a storm moved into Sacramento in early October and dropped almost an inch of rain on the city in a day. A year later, it’s so hot that we shattered the September record for the most days of 90-degree or over temperatures. Yesterday it was 100 degrees and today’s temperature is expected to reach 99 degrees. With all the heat and no rain in sight, people are starting to mention the “D” word. In fact, in a story in today’s Sacramento Bee, Matt Weiser discusses the chance that California is headed into another drought.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Gov. Brown vetoes 3-foot passing bill

A cyclist navigates traffic during the Friday evening commute on H Street in Sacramento on Sept. 28.

It appears Gov. Brown will veto SB 1464, the 3-foot passing bill according to a post by the California Bicycle Coalition.
“Brown has offered no indication of how he views bicycling or expressed any ideas for ensuring the safety of Californians who rely on bicycling as everyday transportation. By vetoing SB 1464, he makes clear that he prioritizes legalistic speculation over the safety of Californians,” a post on the calbike.org website stated.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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County attacks homeless camping on the bike trail’s west end


Bicyclists navigate past people sitting on the bike trail under the Highway 160 bridge at Northgate Blvd. Wednesday evening. Sacramento County authorities began rousting homeless campers in the area Wednesday evening in part because of complaints by businesses and residents in the area.

Sacramento Bee columnist Marcos Breton filed a number of columns this month concerning the homeless camping along the Amercian River bike trail in area of Del Paso and Northgate boulevards. Yesterday, Breton’s column announced, “Beginning today, Sacramento County authorities will begin taking several significant steps aimed at saving the American River Parkway from environmental harm caused by illegal camping,”
Sure enough, last night county park rangers were out along the trail rousting homeless campers and writing citations.
The area has become a difficult one for cyclists to use while commuting home from work because of the gatherings of people under the Highway 160 bridge at Northgate Blvd. An article in the Bee this morning highlighted some of the plans the county has to, “…wrest back the lower parkway, cleaning it up and making it attractive again for hikers, bikers and other recreational users.”



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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American River Bike Trail gets some love

A bicyclist heads east along the American River bike trail Monday evening between mile markers three and four. SacDOT and the Regional Parks Department are working on trail improvements in this area all week. The work includes repairing cracks, overlay of new asphalt, repairs to the trail shoulder and restriping. Signs along the trail warn users to expect delays or a detour between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The American River bike trail is getting some much needed cleaning and repairs this year. Last weekend, the trail received a brisk cleaning as part of the annual clean up by the American River Parkway Foundation, according to an article by Tony Bizjak in today’s Sacramento Bee. Volunteers gathered up about seven tons of trash, Bizjak reported.
But, that’s not all, “The state parks department has won a $423,000 federal grant to to repave 3.5 miles of trail between Beals Point and Lake Natoma,” Bizjak reported. The much-needed trail repairs for this section will begin next spring.
Those repairs, combined with the ongoing trail repairs currently taking place in seven locations along the trail as part of “Measure A” will cause some delays and detours for cyclists, but should be well worth the inconvenience.

To see a map of the American River Parkway Projects for 2012, click here.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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In the news: Pedaling with your pooch and a linking Curtis Park and Land Park


A cyclist heads north on 2nd Street in Sacramento on Monday as the morning commute traffic backs up on southbound Interstate 5 in the background.

An interesting opinion piece appeared in the Sunday Sacramento Bee by freelance writer Mark Drolette about the practice of biking with your dog. Drolette, who lives in Sacramento, is not fond of what he calls the, “trend in Sacramento of ‘walking’ one’s dog while riding a bike.” You can read his article here.
Also in the news, the Sacramento Press reported today that the city is looking at ways to link bike traffic between Curtis Park and Land Park. Reporter Jared Goyette quotes a city staff report that says, “The Sacramento City College Bicycle/Pedestrian Improvements Project will create a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly route on 12th Avenue between 23rd Street and Panther Parkway.” You can read his article here.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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In the news: Bike crash app, 3-foot passing bill and bike trail access


Fishermen work their boat up the Sacramento River as the sun reflects off the CalSTRs building in West Sacramento on a recent morning along the Sacramento River Bike Trail. Salmon fishing along the Sacramento River is getting better every day according to the Western Outdoor News website.

In the news, early last week the state Assembly approved the 3-foot passing bill, according to a report by the California Bicycle Coalition and a story in the Sacramento Bee. Keep an eye out this week as the bill is expected to arrive on Gov. Brown’s desk.
While the 3-foot passing bill is good news, some bad news comes from an article in the Sacramento Press that says the state parks department is considering closing off one of two bicycle access points to Old Sacramento from the Sacramento River Bike Trail. Practical Cycle bike shop owner, Tim Castleman, whose shop is in Old Sac, has started a petition to prevent the closure, the article reports.
And, if you’re looking for an iPhone app to help in case of a bicycle collision, a New York City lawyer has come up with a free app called the Bike Crash Kit, according to a report in the Urban Velo magazine website.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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In the news: Premium Rush opens and Sacramento halfway to being a bike-friendly city

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Tonight is the release of the bicycling movie, “Premium Rush“. The movie is an action thriller about a Manhattan bike messenger chased around the city by a corrupt cop. Check out the movie trailer above. It opens at 12:01 a.m. at Century 16 Greenback Lane in Sacramento, and Century Folsom 14.
If you’re looking for something more serious about bicycling, check out the excellent article in the Thursday Sacramento Bee by Blair Anthony Robertson headlined, “As a bike-friendly city, we’re halfway there.”

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The landmark camphor tree comes down

Crews began cutting down the landmark camphor tree at the intersection of 18th Street and Capitol Avenue this morning. The tree has given shade to many a passing cyclist over the years.

The Sacramento Bee ran a picture and short ode to the tree on the front page today. Over the past week, Bee photographer Jose Luis Villegas has been chronicling the visitors to the tree. He produced an moving video report that you can watch here.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Bike trail detour at Campus Commons Golf Course


A cyclist makes the turn at the detour on the American River bike trail near Northrup Avenue on Monday afternoon, August 20, 2012.

There is a detour on the American River bike trail just north of the Campus Commons Golf Course. The Army Corps of Engineers is working on a “$5.7 million Sacramento levee slurry wall project” which the corps expects to complete by Nov. 30.
The project will strengthen the levee wall between Campus Commons Golf Course and Northrup Avenue, according to a press release from the corps.
“This work is part of the American River Common Features Program, a joint effort between the Corps, the California Central Valley Flood Protection Board and Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, to reduce flood risk throughout the region,” the release stated.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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In the news: learning to ride a bike, Paul Ryan and weather

Cyclists head west along the American River bike trail on an early-morning ride on Saturday.

Make sure to stay hydrated these days. As the temperatures in the Sacramento area continue to climb above 100 degrees each day, The Sacramento Bee reports we could tie the second longest streak of 100-degree days.
If you’re looking for a fun read, check out this article by the New York Times transportation reporter who did not know how to ride a bike. He details how he finally had to take an adult education class to learn to ride a bike.
And if you’re curious about where Mitt Romeny’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, stands on transportation, check out this article on the Streetsblog network.

Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Riding fixed gear in Sacramento

Robert Johnston, right, a co-owner of Pedal Hard Bike and Clothing Boutique on T Street in midtown Sacramento, chats with fixed-gear riders outside the store recently.

A story in the The Bee today focuses on fixed gear bikes, or “fixies.” The story is pegged to the upcoming release of “Premium Rush,” the action thriller about a bike messenger being chased by a crooked cop. The movie comes out in two weeks.
The story in The Bee takes a look at the fixie culture in Sacramento and where it stands today. The popularity of fixies appears to be winding down, and some hope the movie will revive the trend, while others think the movie might be the final gasp.
You can read the whole story here.

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Levee work will affect bike trail access

A sign along the American River bike trail between Howe and Watt Avenues warns of narrowing of the bike trail as work goes on along the levee.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last week that work on the American River Bike Trail levee is in full swing.
“The levee, running east from Howe Avenue along the American River’s north bank, is being raised an average of 1 foot to allow for more water coming from Folsom Dam and its auxiliary spillway,” reports Cathy Locke in a story on sacbee.com.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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REEL Bike-in Theater begins tonight

A cyclist heads west on K Street during the morning commute recently.

The REEL Bike-in Theater opens tonight (Aug. 2) on Del Paso Blvd. with the showing of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The theater,”…is an outdoor film series showcasing award-winning documentaries, acclaimed independent films and classic Hollywood hits like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Best in Show,” according to an article on sacramentopress.com. The shows are free and begin at 6 p.m. at The Greens Hotel at 1700 Del Paso Blvd.
Also in the news, a recent article on sacbee.com by Blair Anthony Robertson is worth a read. Robertson crafted an interesting story about Ed Hakari, the founder of Fast Eddie Bike Tours, a Sacramento company that specializes in bike tours that show off attractions throughout the city.
“It was just him, a fleet of 10 new bikes and an idea to take visitors and locals alike on tours in and around Sacramento, telling them about the history, the culture and all of the attractions. There would be picnics, wine tastings and many other features tailored to the needs of those taking the tours,” Robertson wrote of Hakari starting his business three years ago.

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Heat wave


A teenager swings out over the American River on a rope swing tethered to a tree near the Campus Commons Golf Course in Sacramento on Monday evening as local Sacramento residents searched for ways to stay cool in the recent heat wave.

The heat is here. The temperature in the Sacramento Valley will be near or above 100 degrees all week. We may see a minor dip in temperatures on Wednesday but Thursday and Friday will most likely be above 100, according to the National Weather Service forecast.



Posted from Arden-Arcade, California, United States.

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Riding with a helmet camera

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Here’s a really good article in the New York Times about cyclists wearing helmet cams to record their rides. With the headline, “Cameras Are Cyclists’ ‘Black Boxes’ in Accidents,” the story talks mostly about how cyclists are using helmet cams to record confrontations and accidents.
“Cyclists have long had a rocky coexistence with motorists and pedestrians, who often criticize bike riders for a confrontational attitude, and for blowing through stop signs or otherwise exempting themselves from the rules of the road. Now small cameras — the cycling equivalent of the black box on an airplane — are becoming an intermediary in the relationship, providing high-tech evidence in what is sometimes an ugly contest between people who ride the roads on two wheels and those who use four,” writes Times reporter, Nick Wingfield.
I wear a helmet cam on my daily commute and on weekend rides. I’ve captured lots of fun still pictures and video as well as some bad behavior by both motorists and other cyclists. I usually avoid publishing all but the most egregious behavior I capture on video. However, I viewed this article as an opportunity to present a video collection of cars pulling out in front of me at intersections during my daily commute in Sacramento. These were all taken this year.

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Salmon fishing season opens in the Central Valley

Fishermen ply their lines in the Sacramento River just north of downtown Sacramento at the mouth of the American River in this view from the point at Discover Park Tuesday morning.

Salmon fishing season opened Monday on California’s Central Valley rivers. By Tuesday morning, boats were lined up in the Sacramento River just south of the confluence with the American River.
According to an article on sacbee.com by reporter Matt Weiser, this is the first normal season since the crash in the Salmon population began in 2007. “State and federal officials estimate more than 800,000 adult chinook salmon will make the spawning run into the Sacramento River and its tributaries this year, a huge improvement from the historic low of about 40,000 salmon in 2009,” Weiser wrote.
And, to read more about opening day, check out this story on sacbee.com by reporter Jing Cao.



Posted from West Sacramento, California, United States.

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Park the bike. Go for a swim.

With temperatures in the triple digits, it seems like a good time to park the bike at the beach and cool off in the river as these folks are doing at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Relief is on the way according to the National Weather Service. A cooler airmass is headed our way this weekend. “This will result in seasonal temperatures for the weekend along with a healthy delta breeze,” the NWS website reports.

Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Amazing inspirational video of the “Unstoppables”

Check out this inspirational video of some amazing cyclists. As their website states, “‘Unstoppables’ relates the story of everyday people who have reached unimaginable heights through sport, overcoming the obstacles that life has put in their way. People united in their belief that sharing experiences has individual and collective benefits.”
The video clip was produced by Black Train Films, a company that plans to complete a full-length documentary film about the “Unstoppables”

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Sacramento Fireworks

Fireworks explode over Cal Expo in Sacramento on Wednesday night, as people watch from the levee at Glenn Hall Park in the River Park area of Sacramento.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Tour de France gallery of historic images

Check out this photo gallery of historic images from the Tour de France posted on the New Yorker website. The first tour was in 1903. This year is the 99th edition of the tour. As the comments from this post point out, the math doesn’t add up until you figure in the two world wars.
The first race had 60 riders with 21 finishing. This year’s Tour de France began with nearly 200 riders.

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“Normal” weather expected all week

Two fishermen aim their boat up the American River north of downtown Sacramento Monday morning.

The holiday week is expected to be sunny and warm with temperatures in the 90′s according to the National Weather Service forecast for Sacramento.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Transportation bill receives “groans” from cycling advocates

A bicyclist heads north on 21st Street in Sacramento Thursday evening during the evening commute.

Bicycling advocates are labeling the federal transportation bill a disaster for cycling. The bill was finally filed on Wednesday.
“The bad news: it’s a terrible bill for biking and walking. The new law will likely represent more than 60% cuts in funding for biking and walking. It turns back 20 years of progress in federal policy to make our streets safer, healthier, and more accessible,” says the America Bikes blog. But it could have been worse, the blog goes on to say. Read the full blog post here.
For an excellent analysis of the bill, check out this post by Jonathan Maus on BikePortland.org. And, for a review of the legislation check out this article on DC.STREETSBLOG.ORG.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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News and notes: SFGate and Slate

Morning Commute – A cyclist makes the turn off the bike trail into Old Sacramento at the end of I Street near the Sacramento History Museum on Tuesday morning as the sun rises over the city.

In the ongoing saga that is the federal transportation bill, Carolyn Lochhead, Washington correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote this analysis on the SFGate Politics Blog: Pedestrian and bicycle groups fear they will be thrown under bus.
And, while you’re at the Chronicle’s website, check out the column by C.W. Nevius that looks at Strava and its KOM (King of the Mountain) awards and how it allegedly causes reckless behavior.
“Set the fastest time, and you are awarded a KOM Crown. But face it; no one is setting a best time in the city without running stop signs and red lights. There may be only a few reckless KOM types on Strava, but they are exactly the kind of dangerous riders we’re trying to slow down,” Nevius writes.
And, lastly, another article that’s definitely worth reading is by Slate’s music critic, Jody Rosen, who recently had his bike stolen (in New York), but, was able to recover it using Twitter. Of note, Rosen cites some interesting bicycle statistics, “Bicycle theft is a national epidemic. Each year, more than 1 million bikes are stolen in the United States. In 2010, the most recent year for which the FBI has figures, stolen bikes accounted for 3.3 percent of U.S. larceny-theft cases. Those numbers only begin to tell the story — most bike thefts go unreported,” Rosen writes.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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In the news: Spitting on the bike trail and other inappropriate behavior

A cyclist rides along the American River bike trail near the intersection with NorthGate Blvd. Thursday evening. Park rangers and police have increased patrols and ticketing in the area according to a column in Friday’s Sacramento Bee.

Tony Bizjak’s Back-seat Driver column in the Friday morning Sacramento Bee takes on trail etiquette on the American River Parkway and then segues into some of the changes taking place along the trail.
“Summer is high season for parkway use. One of the sad bike trail realities is, the more crowded it gets, the angrier some get, and the worse some behavior becomes,” Bizjak wrote.



Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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Summer Solstice

A solitary bike rests against a signal light pole at the corner of H Street and 21st Street in Sacramento Thursday morning as the sun rises on the Summer Solstice, the day of the year with the most light.

Posted from Sacramento, California, United States.

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LA Times story: San Francisco’s car-bike debate

A story in the Los Angeles Times by Maria L. La Ganga on Saturday looks at the ongoing conversation in San Francisco over bikes vs. cars vs. pedestrians. La Ganga uses the recent death of a pedestrian hit by a cyclist to take a look at San Francisco’s efforts to reduce automobile traffic.
“In the ongoing smart-growth discussion, San Francisco offers a cautionary tale for cities where officials are mulling antidotes to sprawl and working toward less dependence on the private auto,” La Ganga wrote. Read the article here.

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In the news, mobile apps, bike racks and riding in the lane

A cyclist checks out her smartphone while riding on the American River Bike trail near Sac State. A recent news article laments the lack of smartphone apps for cyclists.

Check out the lastest article by Blair Anthony Robertson in on sacbee.com about the new bike docks being sold by local business.
“They’re low-key and will never be mistaken for public art, but Sacramento-based Park a Bike’s Varsity model racks are considered one of the best of their kind,” Robertson writes.
Speaking of biking stuff, this recent article in the New York Times by Joshua Brustein laments the lack of smartphone apps available to cyclists.
“…I went looking for the biking equivalent of clever subway apps like Exit Strategy or EmbarkNYC, and was surprised at how little inventive thinking I found. For iPhone users, at least, there is not even a great way to get directions on a phone,” Brustein writes.
And with all the talk these days about the three-foot passing bill, there’s an interesting article on the Cycling Savvy website about why it is better to ride in the middle of the lane than on the side.
“Driving in the middle of the lane actually protects cyclists against the most common motorist-caused crashes: sideswipes, right hooks, left crosses, and drive-outs,” the article states.

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Sacramento Bike Racks


There seem to be a lot more bike racks going up around Sacramento. The city has been adding their standard bike racks along the downtown streets, but there are also some very inventive racks appearing, especially on the R Street corridor. Here are images of a few of the more interesting racks. Please leave a comment or use the contact form to send me a message about your favorite bike rack and I will try to add it to the gallery. All the images were taken with the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone to give them a different look.

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