We’ve signed up for the National Bike Challenge — and we’d love to have you be part of this friendly competition for prizes and bragging rights among bicyclists all across the land. Already there are 17 Florida teams (325 riders as of 4 p.m. today) planning to log their rides between now and September 30. So, whether you bike to work or work up a sweat with your peloton pals, you can get in on this new level of fun without spending a cent.
The competition is made possible by the League of American Bicyclists and Endomondo, the Danish company whose line includes physical fitness monitors like those that some of you already use. I just downloaded the Blackberry version of the Endomondo app, and there are others for the smartphone in your family. You don’t have to have a smartphone to take part; it’s just an available option.
Oh, you want to know about prizes? Think bicycles. Think riding gear. That kind of stuff. But the main point is the fun. Your click here can start you on your way. .
This national event promotes healthy bicycling for school children all over the country. What’s planned at your school, or the one where your kids go? If you’d like to get something started, the folks at the National Center for Safe Routes to School have suggestions and resources you can use.
The appropriations bill being wrapped up in the Florida Legislature includes $50 million to complete a 275-mile bikeway from St. Petersburg to Titusville. The money’s for the Coast to Coast Connector, filling seven gaps between several existing trails. Imagine what $50 million could do for the planned Ludlam Trail in Miami’s south suburbs.
Several months ago, when the Office of Greenways and Trails aired its priorities around the state, we asked Jim Wood, who headed the agency at the time, why South Florida had fared so poorly as the state built an impressive series of trails upstate over the past 20 years or so. Each of those existing trails, he pointedly said, has had a local champion — generally an elected official — who led the way to show local authorities and lawmakers the value of the proposal. So the Ludlam needs a champion. Will it be you?
By the way, since Florida has a line-item veto there’s no guarantee the Coast-to-Coast Connector will go through until Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill. The project didn’t appear in the budget he submitted to the Legislature.
This year’s Miami Ride of Silence will start at the Miami Museum of Science (map here) and will avoid the Rickenbacker Causeway altogether. With lane restrictions in place on the Bear Cut Bridge, ride organizers Maria-Luisa De Jesus-Hoover and John Voss, of the Everglades Bicycle Club, plotted a route on Brickell Avenue, Biscayne Boulevard, and the Venetian Causeway.
This memorial ride for lost cyclists happens nationwide and abroad on May 15, and riders of all skill sets are welcome. Assemble in the museum parking at 6:30 and we’ll shove off at 7 p.m. Remember that this is highly accessible from Metrorail or the M-Path, using the bridge at Vizcaya Station to cross U.S. 1. On the ride, cyclists are to confine themselves to the single right lane except when turning left.
Thanks to the American Public Health Association for advocating for walking and bicycling during its annual National Public Health Week this month. Some of the important national data they shared:
- In 2010, more than 4,200 pedestrians died in traffic crashes — a 4 percent increase from 2009.That same year about 70,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes.
- More than 600 bicyclists died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 and 52,000 were injured.
- More than 15 people are killed every day in the U.S. and more than 1,200 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
You can learn more and join their efforts at their website.
Say congratulations to lawyer-cyclist Larry Silverman, new owner of Bell’s Bicycles in North Miami Beach. He and his crew will be celebrating the new management at a grand re-opening party on Sunday afternoon, April 7. The store’s at 1951 NE 163rd St.