Trails Cleaned

Wednesday, June 29 by silvia

Nearly a dozen WWBPA volunteers came out to clear the Millstone Preserve trails, where weeds and bushes have been shrinking the path. Mostly, the work was picking up twigs and cutting back plants on the path a bit. We moved a few big branches, and in less than two hours, the main and lower trails were cleared, with the exception of a fallen tree on the lower trail that the township is being asked to remove.

The trails are in great shape for runners and walkers. Please let us know of any problem spots on these or other trails, and join us next time! The Rogers Preserve is on our list for July. You can see more photos from the day here.

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Bike-Sharing: Safer Than Riding Your Own Bike

Monday, June 27 by sandy

DC-BikeshareIt seems counterintuitive. You’d think that riding your own bike would be safer than riding a shared bike. But that’s not the case. In Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., fewer people are injured when they use the new bike-sharing systems.

In London, no one was seriously injured or killed on the first 4.5 million trips on what the locals call Boris Bikes (Barclays Cycle Hire system), while about 12 people are injured for every 4.5 million trips on personal bikes.

And in D.C., the same thing happens: “While only seven bike-sharing riders were injured in 330,000 trips, on average, 13 people riding personal bikes are injured over the same number of trips. And bike-sharing riders suffered no serious injuries, while riders using their own bikes suffered injuries that were sometimes serious or even fatal.”

So why does this happen? Professor Norman Garrick of the University of Connecticut speculates that it could be shorter trips on shared bikes. Professor Ian Walker of the University of Bath (England) suggests bike-sharers might be less experienced and “stick to safer cycling behavior,” or they “could be more dedicated cyclists with an above-average skill level.” Garrick adds that the shared bikes themselves might be a factor, since they’re more visible (often bright red or yellow) and slower.

Read more on StreetBlog.org.

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Helmet Rewards

Saturday, June 25 by silvia

Here’s a case of when it pays off to be stopped by the police:

Police departments in several Middlesex County municipalities, including Plainsboro and Cranbury, are giving a “summons” to any kid spotted wearing a helmet while biking (or doing another wheeled activity) between June 21 and Sept. 30. Each summons can be redeemed for free items, such as a scoop of ice cream or slice of pizza, and enters the child in a raffle drawing for a new helmet and bicycle at the end of the campaign.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s Safe Kids Middlesex County is once again partnering with county and local governments to make this program happen. You can read more about it here.

Wearing a helmet isn’t just the law for kids under 17; it makes sense for cyclists of all ages. You only have one brain, and even an seemingly innocent fall the wrong way can do serious damage.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 190,000 children sustain head injuries each year while participating in wheeled activities. Brain injuries often have lifelong effects, such as problems with thought processes, mobility and emotions. There is no cure for brain injury so prevention is extremely important.

Talk to the WWBPA about how to fit your helmet properly so it doesn’t slide around. There’s a science to it!

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Public Comment Needed on Route 571 Main Street Project

Wednesday, June 22 by JerryFoster

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is putting out the New Jersey  federal transportation improvement projects for comment, including the Route 571 project between Clarksville and Cranbury roads. You can find details here:

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance’s recommendations for the project are here:

The current design calls for adding a center left turn lane, sidewalks and a bicycle-compatible shoulder, maintaining the existing design speed (45mph).

The problem is that the combination of same design speed, the additional center turn lane and roadway widening, but no pedestrian refuges halfway across the road will make it harder, not easier, to cross the street.

Essentially, there will be 30% more cars to dodge when crossing, which will be going faster than today, since they wouldn’t have to slow down for left-turning vehicles (which will be in the new center turn lane).

In our view, Route 571 is already too hard to cross, and this design will make it worse. Please join us in adding your comments to the DVRPC by following the instructions on their web page.

The stated goals are for a bicycle and pedestrian friendly main street, but the design details do not support the goals, according to the NJDOT Smart Transportation Guidebook. On the plus side, the recommended changes will save money and most importantly give us a Main Street we can be proud of, while still increasing  capacity.

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Cycling for Human Rights through Princeton

Monday, June 20 by sandy

Chinese CyclistThree Chinese citizens are cycling across the country, from New York City to San Francisco, to highlight the plight of artist and activist Ai Weiwei and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, both imprisoned by the Chinese government.

The cyclists stopped in Princeton on Friday evening, June 17, and spoke with people on the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon Streets.

They hope to collect more than 10,000 signatures asking for the release of the two imprisoned men. The letter will ask United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to address “the Chinese government’s serious and on-going human rights violations against its own people.”

Chinese CyclistsTo read more about the “Cycling Tour for Human Rights of China,” go to the Initiatives for China website.

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Join Us for Trail Maintenance

Sunday, June 19 by silvia

Millstone River Trail

Millstone River Trail

Help the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance and Friends of West Windsor Open Space do some maintenance on the Millstone trails.

We will meet at 10 a.m. on Sunday June 26 in the Millstone Preserve parking lot on Millstone Road. We will be clearing trails of brush, weeds and downed trees. If there are enough people, we will tackle Rogers Preserve as well. Otherwise we will do that in late July.

Bring clippers/loppers, rakes and weed-whackers or something else to take out the weeds. You may want to wear gloves and carry a bottle of water. We’ll be done by noon.

Email with any questions, and feel free to bring some friends.

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Fabulous Day in Freehold

Saturday, June 18 by silvia

About 20 people from West Windsor and neighboring communities headed earlier this month to Freehold and the Metz Bicycle Museum, a museum filled with what must be more than 100 bicycles collected over 60 years by a former Cranbury resident who, we learned, came up with the idea for those scalloped cement blocks to edge gardens.

Most of us used part of the Henry Hudson Trail, a well-used, shaded and paved path on what was once a freight railroad line. We were accompanied from Marlboro High School by a number of local residents who gave us some extra local flavor: Freehold High School, Bruce Springsteen’s alma mater (we heard a few stories about him!); the Battle of Monmouth monument; and lunch on Main Street.

A smaller  group of hardy cyclists peddled from West Windsor to Freehold (about 22 miles). They had the bright idea to stop for ice cream on the way home!

Our youngest cyclist, 9-year-old Ashley, hitched her bike to Dad’s some of the time. We learned she’s a budding fashionista with real affinity for shoes. So guess what her favorite bike had?

See more of our pictures here.

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More Sidewalks and Bike Lanes!

Thursday, June 16 by silvia

What an incredible year for new sidewalks and bike lanes in West Windsor!

Schlumberger sidewalkYou’ve probably already seen the improvements around the train station, including better crossings, the sidewalk on the Schlumberger side and the striped shoulders that give cyclists some added comfort. There also are three key links in the sidewalk network that went in last month and finally allow people to walk to and from the Toll Brother developments, Windsor Haven and the farmers’ market over the railroad bridge on Alexander Road and to the library, Maurice Hawk and the Arts Center. Those parking at the Wallace Road lot for Arts Council events now have a much more direct walk as well.

Now work has started on Penn-Lyle Road that not only will repave the road surface but add sidewalks to the east side of the road between Village Road West and Stony Brook Way as well as bike lanes on both sides of the road. This will let more students walk or bike safely to High School South.

We also hear that work is progressing for the multi-use trail planned along South Post Road near the ballfields. If all goes smoothly, the project could soon go out to bid, with an aim of construction in September or October.

The WWBPA has long advocated for these improvements, and we thank township officials, including the mayor and council, for making them.

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WWBPA’s Scholarship Winner

Monday, June 13 by silvia

Congratulations to Kim Meersma, a WWBPA student advisor since the end of 8th grade and the recipient of a $500 college scholarship from the WWBPA.

In her essay, she wrote:

“As I have learned through my five years of experience as a Student Advisor, the best way to convince people of the importance of building a bicycle and pedestrian friendly community is to have them experience a bicycle ride or a walk for themselves. Through events such as the Community Bike Ride, and the walk to the Farmers Market, cyclists and walkers of all ages and experience levels are able to see that given a safe route, they are able to reach places around the community without a car.”

Kim is graduating from WW-P High School South and is headed to UMass in Amherst, where we hope she will continue to promote biking and walking. We thank her for all she has done for the WWBPA and West Windsor.

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Bicycling in Hunterdon County

Thursday, June 9 by silvia

Here’s a new resource for cycling in Hunterdon County: www.bikehunterdon.org.

The site features maps of local bicycle tours, including the Delaware & Raritan Towpath, Last Covered Bridge and Round Valley Roundabout routes. An interactive Google map feature allows potential riders to view amenities along the routes including restaurants, bed and breakfast and other lodging, as well as points of interest. A full list of all local bicycle shops as well as where to rent a bicycle is also included. It even includes routes outside Hunterdon County.

Looking for other maps? Check the resources section of the West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance’s website.

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May’s Magnificent Miles

Monday, June 6 by silvia

Thanks to all who sent in their May bike mileage, representing a mix of commuting, pleasure and errand-running miles. We reached 3,161 miles, despite a very soggy Bike to Work Week.

Forgot to send in your miles? Leave a message here, on Facebook or email wwbikeped@gmail com. We can always update.

What do 3,161 miles represent? Interestingly, we burn roughly the same number of calories per mile cycled, regardless of speed (Obviously we burn more per hour the faster we go). The other variable is your weight. You can work out where you stand below, but assuming an average weight of 155 pounds and a moderate pace (45 calories per mile), we burned 142,245 calories. If we hadn’t compensated for the riding with extra food, we’d have lost nearly 41 pounds.

Some of you sent in descriptions of your rides. Don P. used his bike to carry grass clippings to the EcoCenter in Lawrence and hauled mulch home. Dan R. confessed to being in the wrong gear when crossing a stream in Dorchester County, Maryland,  .. I assume that was a wet mistake! He also saw roads there flooded more than he’d ever seen before. All this was part of a one-day 138-mile ride around the perimeter of Dorchester County, in which he only had rain for 20 minutes. Dan also provided the inspiration for the title of this post — thanks, Dan!

Also thanks to Levi, Abby, Jessica, Deniz, Diane, Bill, John W. and everyone else who sent in their mileage count. As for that calorie information…

Vigorous Cycling

Bicycling 14 to 15.9 mph is considered a “vigorous effort” by the Wisconsin Department of Health. More vigorous efforts spur greater calorie losses by increasing your heart rate and the amount of fuel your body burns, according to “Swim, Bike, Run.” When you bicycle 14 to 15.9 mph, you burn 54 to 62 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, 44 to 50 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and 37 to 42 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

Moderate Cycling

Bicycling 12 to 13.9 mph is a “moderate effort,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Health. Your heart rate should be 45 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate–220 beats per minute minus your age–when you exercise moderately, according to Dr. Dean Ornish in his book “Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease.” When you bicycle 12 to 13.9 mph, you burn 50 to 58 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, 41 to 47 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and 34 to 39 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

Light Cycling

Bicycling 10 to 11.9 mph is regarded as a “light effort” by the Wisconsin Department of Health. If you’re 40 years old, you can bicycle lightly if your heart rate is under 81 beats per minute–220 minus 40 times .45 percent. When you bicycle 10 to 11.9 mph, you burn 44 to 52 calories per mile if you weigh 190 pounds, 35 to 42 calories per mile if you’re 155 pounds and 30 to 35 calories per mile if you’re 130 pounds.

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The WWBPA’s May in Pictures

Friday, June 3 by silvia

The WWBPA had something for everyone in May. Where did you see us?

community walk 2011On May 7, we led our second annual walk to mark the start of the farmers’ market season. About 20 people, from grandparents to grandchildren, joined for a walk from Maurice Hawk School to the Farmers’ Market at the Vaughn Drive Parking Lot.  The first stop was at the Arts Center on Alexander Road where Greening of West Windsor (GroWW) was holding an Herb Sale to benefit the plantings at the Arts Center.  We observed the new sidewalk along Alexander Road from Scott Avenue to Wallace Road under construction, and noted that on next year’s walk we would use it.  Crossing Wallace at Alexander instead of at Scott is much safer because cars have a much greater sight line to the pedestrians.  We proceeded to the station, under the tracks, and along the pathway to the Farmers’ Market, where the WWBPA handed out maps and held a drawing for a T-shirt, a reflective vest, a set of lights, a set of ankle bands and a couple of Share the Road decals.

As part of National Bike to Work Week, we joined Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association for a chilly “bikers breakfast” at the station on May 17, offering food, drink and encouragement to cyclists and others. We hope some are ready to get back on a bike, even if not to get to work.

Learn to BikeOn May 21, we were back at the farmers’ market, teaching about 50 kids to ride bikes without training wheels, using a “balance first” method taught to us by Bike New York.

On May 28, we were at BikeFest, talking to participants about what we do and offering ideas on where to ride.

Our “Ride of Silence,” to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads, was delayed by rain until June 1. We rode through West Windsor, led by a police car and funeral hearse. If you missed us, check out the photos.

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Upcoming Events

Apr        Membership Drive. Become a member/Renew your membership today and support our local community.

Apr 29  WWBPA to participate in Community Day at Duck Pond Park (11am-4pm)

May 1     Scholarship applications due for Graduating High School Seniors

May 6     Opening day for WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Walk from Hawk Elementary School

May 11     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

May 20   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Kids Learn to Bike

June 3    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market  & Adult Learn to Bike (9am-12pm)

Jun 8       Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

June 17   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market & Bike Repair Clinic

July 8     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

July 13     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

July 22    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug  5     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Aug 10    Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Aug 19    WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 9     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Sept 14   Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Sept 23   WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Bike Drive (Donations)

Oct 7       WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market

Oct 12     Monthly Meeting 7 pm – WW Municpal Bldg (Rm D – Lower Level)

Oct 28     WWBPA at the WW Farmers Market – Halloween

Ongoing – Register your bike with the WW Police Dept for Free

Volunteer Opportunities – Sign up to give back to the community

Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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