Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amie Lamb, a carfree story in Reno, Nevada.

Amie let us know she recently had a anniversary, carfree for a year! I sent her a note of congratulations and asked her to share her story for us:

Honestly, earlier in the decade, I didn't have a car in Portland for 6 years (out of high school) and got around by bike. A Trek 7600 multi-track, she has been most faithful. Mostly it was because I was too poor and stubborn to get a car. And I felt like a bad ass riding those hills every day. Riding up Broadway and beating the lights is so much fun. Riding over the Sylvan Hills is just brutal.

Then I moved to eastern Nevada for a few years to work as a geologist. I broke my carless streak there. Except for recreational riders, people on bicycles were generally thought to be riding because (1) they have had their license revoked, (2) they have no friends to give them rides, or (3) their cars are broken. There was tangible social pressure to not commute by bike. Weird, really. People refused to ride to work because they were scared of what their coworkers would think. Bizarre.

After three years there, I moved to Reno to go to grad school. I've been in Reno for over a year, and my car broke down last November. I could have replaced it or done more repairs, but got rid of it instead.

The arch-plan was become carless again! by (1) letting the car break down and get rid of it (2) emplace infrastructure to make it easy for me to not drive and save time. I reasoned that I would rent cars occasionally when I needed them to go on trips to the field. Also, I intentionally found a neighborhood with everything I needed within easy human-propelled distance (work, the co-op, parks, downtown, bus lines, yoga studio, etc.) Downtown is less than a mile away, the co-op is a 10 minute walk, yoga across the street, school is 2 miles away, even good restaurants and bars are a stone's throw away. And I haven't replaced the car yet, (though honestly I was wishing for one in the really cold and snowy winter last year.)

Cool picture of Amie, well, Amie's, look closely.
(photo by Melissa Test)
 So that's the story. I love riding, it makes me happy. I like the wheels rolling and that smile that spreads across your face, I like not being sealed from the outside elements, and that extra blood rush/flow, warm quadriceps, and breathlessness from pushing up a hill. And not having to drive around the block to find parking. The motivation to start biking has become equally pleasure and principle -- that fact that cars generate the most CO2 in the first three miles of driving (while the engine is warming up to max combustion), and the average commute is that long. It feels selfish to poison the environment for convenience. That is a 15-20 minute bike ride vs a 10 minute drive, plus parking...

As a side note, I really think that a lot more people would go carless if there were infrastructure for it. Because it's a pain in the butt to do it here, compared to Portland. Better educated (commuting) populace, better trains and buses (my friend actually was on a greyhound last month where someone died of an overdose, and I myself will never suffer the indignity and unpleasantness of a Greyhound ride again). The habits of people to just jump in their cars is a well-ingrained and convenient ritual, that doesn't really even gain a whole lot for them in the long run. I'm sure you know the laundry list -- more disconnected, higher bills, dirtier air, weenier, etc. So, bike riding and walking.

As a second side note, fortunately, as a city, Reno is really active in the bike advocacy arena. Elly Blue and Joe Biel came through town with the Portland biking story during their Bikestravaganza tour, and I had the opportunity to organize the event. It was really, really heartening. A lot of people came to the forefront who are active and passionate about improving cycling in Reno, and it was a fabulous experience.

Thanks for putting up a page and being an advocate.


Great story! Thanks for sharing Amie! If you want to learn more about whats going on in bike advocacy in Reno check out the Reno Metro Bicycle Advocacy Group or Metrobaggers as they call themselves.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest post- People Ask: Why Do You Ride A Bike? by Tamia Nelson

People Ask: Why Do You Ride a Bike?
by Tamia Nelson

When I was 17 years old, I shattered my leg in a crash when downhill skiing, and as a consequence I spent five months in a full cast. My bones finally healed and my cast was removed, but my leg was weak, my knee would give out unexpectedly, and my leg hurt badly even after short walks. I began to despair of returning to my active lifestyle. But I had a new ten-speed bike. I lost patience with lameness, so one day I pushed the bike to the porch steps, cringed as I threw my bad leg over the saddle, and sat there with my good foot on the step and my bad foot on the pedal. It felt great to be back in the saddle, but could I ride? I shoved off and rolled onto the road. I COULD ride, I found to my delight. All that summer I cycled everywhere, and my bike brought me back to full strength. My good leg did the work and helped my bad leg to recover. I couldn't walk, but I could bike.

I'm sometimes asked why I cycle everywhere and in all weathers. The folks who ask me this question don't bike, so they can't comprehend without help. I try to explain, and I keep it simple. Mobility and freedom. That's why I ride. Beautiful countryside, the pride which comes from cycling well, and breaking away from car dependency are all icing on the cake.

This is a condensed version of Tamia's original article, "I Can't Walk, but I Can Bike…", published on her website, Tamia Nelson's Outside. She can be reached through her website's Contact page, or by sending her an email directly.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Showers Pass Touring Jacket-user review

Love this jacket!

A fantastic jacket!
Showers Pass Touring Jacket. Showers Pass is  out of Portland and is an exceptional company. "Showers Pass clothing is technically engineered cycling gear for racers, commuters, messengers and everyday cycling enthusiasts. Inspired by the challenging rides and weather of northern California and the Pacific Northwest, we have been combining top-notch fabrics with innovative, functional design elements since 1997. The result? Truly superior cycling outerwear." from the web site.
Showers Pass Touring Jacket
“The ultimate touring, commuter, and bike messenger jacket.”
Price: $150.00 Sizes s-XXL, Colors: Black, Blue, Yellow.

I own the Black Jacket in XXL


This jacket is made for bicycle people, but is great for hiking, cross country skiing, and running. Full cut so there is room to layer and extra mobility. Drop down tail to keep your butt dry in a deluge or warm in a snow storm. The ventilation, 12 inch two-way pit zips and large back vent is perfect. Highly reflective, choice of three colors, chamois collar, light loop on rear vent, chest pocket with audio port, two cargo pockets, cuffs are gusseted for air flow regulation. After four seasons of use the only problem is minor wear but integrity of jacket is strong. It is breathable, water proof, wind resistant, but is bulky and does not pack well.
I have used it biking and hiking in temperatures ranging from 5f degrees (layered) to 60f degrees. In rain, snow, sleet, drizzle, thunder storms, hail, wind, and even a tornado(kidding).

The ventilation is fantastic! Keeping the rider dry inside and out.

30f degrees, sleet/ rain, wind, and I am warm and dry
 The only negative is the the drop down tail. I works great while riding, but sometimes can get caught on the seat when stopping at a intersection causing an anxious moment so the rider has to stand up off the saddle for the tail to clear the back of the saddle. Also the tail, when held up by two snaps, can sometimes come unsnapped when, bending over, which makes me annoyed because I have to check if it is up down- I think buttons instead of snaps could fix this problem.
Overall I give this jacket a 4 out of a possible 5 rating and would recommend it to all!

Reviewed by Bill Poindexter

Thursday, November 18, 2010

James Osborne-carfree American profile-Denver, Colorado

Tell me a little bit about you (name, age, occupation, married, kids, carfree or carlite, where you live)?

Cargo bikes work for transportation too!
 James Osborne, 27. I have been married for 6 years and we are expecting our first little one next year. We live in Centennial, Colorado, a southern suburb of Denver and have for a few years. I try to be car-lite as much as practical, and my wife and I share one car.

When did you start using a bicycle for transportation and what other forms of transportation do you use?

About three years ago the car I had for several years started having serious issues, and I realized I was driving it less and less. We lived just a few blocks from a light rail station and it was very easy to ride to the station and take the train the 9 or 10 miles to my office. Finally I realized it was ridiculous to have a car sitting in front of our house that barely worked and I never drove, and we sold my car for pence.

What is a day in your bicycling life like?

In short, fantastic! Our house is about 8 miles from my office and it’s easy for my commute to be mostly on off-street paths or neighborhood roads. Riding feeds my eating habits and keeps my stress down. Commuting allows me to get a lot of riding in without taking too much time away from other things.

Do you recommend cycling to friends/family members/others? Have any taken you up on it?

I’ve slowly spread bikes among friends and family. I try not to be too self-righteous about it, as I realize it’s not for everyone. This year I convinced a co-worker to ride with me on Denver’s Bike To Work Day and she has been bike commuting about one day a week since then. I have other friends that ride and my brother-in-law has ridden his commute for quite a while.

James and his Surly Long Haul Trucker
 What kind of bike are you currently riding?

My daily driver is a stock ’08 Surly Long Haul Trucker. I was riding a road bike before I started commuting regularly and prefer a road bike for rides of more than a few miles. Riding year round in Denver is usually a breeze, but we usually have to deal with a few weeks of snow. When the roads are bad I pull out a dedicated ice bike, an old rigid Trek mountain bike. On the advice of Peter White (http://www.peterwhitecycles.com//) I got some Nokian Mount & Ground studded tires, which I can’t imagine the winter without.

Ice biking!
 In your opinion, what’s the best part about cycling for transportation?

I have to pick just one? I suppose I would have to say getting to ride my bike every day. Sure there are health, environmental and financial benefits. But mostly, I just like riding my bike, and I like that commuting lets me ride my bike.

What’s the worst?

The occasional inconvenience of an out-of-office meeting or something out of my routine. All of life is a trade off, and there are downsides to driving that, in my opinion, far outweigh the downsides to biking.

Do you have a favorite carfree/carlite story?

I love the first warm spring ride, when I can leave the house in the morning without a jacket and in shorts. I love jumping on my ’74 Schwinn Collegiate for a cruise to the grocery store or the bank. I love riding adjacent to bumper-to-bumper traffic and realizing that I don’t have to be part of that if I don’t want to.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/ considering commuting by bike?
1) Ease your way in; don’t feel obligated to spend $1,000 on a new bike and gear just to try it.
2) If you know someone who rides a lot, talk to them about what routes they might suggest.
3) Ride when you want to. If it becomes an obligation quickly, you won’t want to ride!

Anything else you would like to add?

The best bike is the one you want to ride.

Thanks James and congrats on being pregnant!!! I see a trailer is in your future!

Read more about James and his carfree life at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Weekend KC events- KanBikeWalk meeting/ride and Cranksgiving.

On Saturday the 20th. Our good friend Randy Rasa of the http://www.kansascyclist.com/ will be leading a ride before the annual KanBiewalk meeting:

KanBikeWalk (http://www.kanbikewalk.com//) is holding their annual

meeting this Saturday (Nov. 20th) in Olathe. This is a great opportunity
to participate in making our local communities, and the state of Kansas
as a whole, a better place to ride a bike.

I'm leading a casual social ride, starting at 10am from the Indian Creek
Branch of the Olathe Library. This is located right on the Indian Creek
Trail (about 129th & Blackbob), so it's within easy cycling distance for
anyone in Olathe, Lenexa, Overland Park, Leawood, and other KC-area
cities. If you prefer to drive to the meeting, that's OK, too -- there's
plenty of parking space at the library.
Randy Rasa

The ride will be about 20 miles at a leisurely pace. The ride will
showcase some of the great facilities we're lucky enough to have in
Olathe. Most of the route will be on paved trails and streets with bike
lanes. If you haven't experienced some of Olathe's newest facilities,
such as the bike lanes and new multi-modal interchange on Lone Elm, the
bike lanes on 127th, and the new section at the southern end of the
Indian Creek Trail, here's your chance to get a guided tour!

After the ride, anyone who's interested can gather at Spin Pizza on
119th Street (a great local bike-friendly business) for lunch, with the
open house meeting to follow back at the library at 1:30pm.

I know most of you are interested in improving the safety of our
roadways, and ensuring that we'll always have a place to ride. Those
things don't happen by accident. People -- you and me -- have to speak
up and get involved. There are lots of ways to do that, and KanBikeWalk
is trying to help all Kansas bicyclists and pedestrians speak with one
strong voice. We can do more together than we can alone. Here's a great
chance to step up and make your voice heard.

Even if you're not able or willing to become involved in the
organization, we'd love to have you ride with us, no strings attached.
All are welcome!

Here are the details on the ride and meeting:

Hope to see you there!

Then....our good friends Jeff Perry and Sam Swearngin are inviting us to

Cranksgiving on Sunday the 21st

Local cyclists will come together, ride, buy food and necessities, for those less fortunate. Some ride slow, some fast, but all welcome. 

Where: Anita Gorman Discovery Center,4750 Troost Ave, Kansas City, MO

When: November 21, 2010 12:30 pm
What:Bicycle Alleycat Race to support St. Peter’s Food Pantry
Cranksgiving Alleycat Race
November 21, 2010 12:30 pm

On Kansas City, Missouri November 21, 2010 - For the fifth year in a row, bicyclists in Kansas City will ride an Alleycat race through the city, starting at the Anita Gorman Discovery Center at 48th and Troost stopping at grocery stores to pick up one or two items and rolling on to another, visiting up to 10 stores before finishing at St. Peter's Legacy Center at 6415 Holmes Road. Groceries will be donated to St. Peter’s Food Bank.

Cranksgiving, first organized in New York City in 1999 ,by Antonio Rodrigues and continues to be run there. After Rodrigues moved to York, PA, the event spread to there as well as to Des Moines,IA, St. Louis and other cities throughout the country.

The first Cranksgiving in Kansas City was started by local photographer and cyclist Michael Forrester, with Grant Redwine and Jason Wingate. The race brought together riders from the various communities within Kansas City area cycling. The following year, the Greater Kansas City Bicycle Federation and 816 Bicycle Collective began organizing Cranksgiving.

In 2009, riders filled the stage at the Brick with food donations. “In the first event,” says director Jeff Perry, “we gathered foods for a Thanksgiving dinner. It seems that hunger has become a larger problem, so now I ask the riders to gather staples like peanut butter, soup and cereal. Another item that the food banks have asked for in the past is soap and other personal care products, because people can’t use their food stamps for those.”

Alleycat races started as a competition between bicycle messengers and involve a number of check points, much like a typical work day in a messengers life. At Cranksgiving, riders are given a manifest that has a list of grocery stores and items to purchase. Riders will start riding at 1PM and finish at St. Peter’s at 3PM. Methods of carrying groceries vary from messenger bags and backpacks to baskets, panniers and even cargo trailers.

Riders pay no entry fee and register the day of the event, receiving a spoke card and manifest.
(Special thanks to Eric Rogers for description)

For additional information
Contact Jeff Perry, cell 816-807-7276 or jeff.perry@gmail.com

 Cranksgiving see event site on Facebook

Hope to see you there, and tell your friends!!!
Gobble, gobble!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

how to share the road-from our friends in Maine

I like this sign very much. It is not just a "Share the Road" sign.

It is statement that is considerate and peaceful to all who travel on the roads no matter what the mode of transport.

It simply states, "how to share the road."

Well done and

Thank you Bicycle Coalition of Maine

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free classes to cyclists in KC- Fixn a flat and bike skills from MoBikeFed

Just in from our friends at Missouri Pedestrian and Bicycle Federation
MoBikeFed has two great clinics this month. Both are free and open to the public... so bring a friend or two!

Thursday, November 18
6:00-7:30 PM
KC North Community Center
Tired of loading your bike into the car for trips to the shop for flat repair? Get your hands dirty and learn the foolproof methods of fixing this nuisance. No more begging for a ride home… guaranteed.

Register here: https://mobikefed.org/civicrm/event/info?id=7423&reset=1

Bike Skillz
Saturday, November 20
11:00-12:30 PM
Tony Aguirre Community Center
Get some practical riding experience in this clinic. You’ll practice the essential riding techniques and even learn some emergency maneuvers. Bikes and helmets are required.

Register here: https://mobikefed.org/civicrm/event/info?id=7424&reset=1

Program Coordinator
Missouri Foundation
for Bicycling and Walking

(Please come to the classes if you can and take a look the the MoBikeFed site for more info about all the great things they do for you in Missouri and join them! These are advocates and activists that live the carfree/carlite life!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Carfree history-and win a bike

In 1961, philosopher Paul Goodman wrote the essay Banning Cars from Manhattan. 50 years on WCN has teamed up with the makers of the new film Paul Goodman Changed My Life to encourage you to suggest what should be done where you live.

JSL Films, in partnership with the World Carfree Network, the Alliance for Biking and Walking, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and Dissent Magazine, presents the Paul Goodman Changed My Life bicycle contest.

Bike contest

In 1961, Paul Goodman – social thinker, activist, poet and novelist – with his brother Percival published the essay Banning Cars from Manhattan in Dissent magazine. Forty years later, though his influence is felt throughout our culture, his books have fallen out of print and his name is all but forgotten – and widespread adoption of alternative transportation is a more pressing topic than ever.

Trailer for Paul Goodman Changed My Life from Israel Ehrisman on Vimeo.

To honor Goodman’s legacy of taking a critical eye to our urban structure, we’re asking you to write your local government – your mayor, or city council – with five ideas that could be implemented in your area to promote forms of transportation that reduce global warming. We’ll randomly draw one person from North America to win a new bicycle donated courtesy of Breezer Bikes, and one person from Europe to win a new bicycle donated courtesy of Biomega. Enter today – the contest expires on November 30, 2010.

(I love history and thought this would be good to put on the blog, please give me your feedback on this and let me know your thoughts! Bill -carfree American)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Go Slow-pictures, videos, and nature

bike commuter and truck
we all have a story...what is yours? 
nancy's bike, waiting for nancy to finish lunch at Cafe' Provence

I walk and bicycle all around my city and I see, feel, smell, and hear things most people miss and I am sad for them
lonely old schwinn in need of a riding owners

nature is something we as humans all have in common. walking and bicycling allow nature and our primitive wild self to come alive
homeless man, kansas city, what you see is all he owns

living carfree is more about living than just not owning or using a car.                                                           

 it is more natural  to walk or bicycle for transportation

Shad , racer, husband, father of two boys, riding fixie

 living now, and with purpose is what matters
your heart pumping the oxygen rich blood through your veins...that matters too.

live free but go slow
you don't want to miss the ride...