Weighing the Benefits of Bike Commuting

Thursday, May 31 by silvia

On this last day of National Bike Month, we want to share an inspiring story from David Porsche, a bike commuter we met at the Princeton Junction train station and who says thanks for being such a bike-friendly community. His route takes him along Clarksville Road from the southern end of town and he has found that almost all motorists are courteous–yes, during rush hour.

“I started bicycle commuting to the Princeton Junction train station a few years back.  I ride between five and 12 miles each way (to and from) Monday through Friday.  I ride all year round and in all types of weather.  The accessibility to safe roads and plentiful bicycle resources at the train station has made the transition from gas guzzler to cyclist incredibly easy.

Since I have started bicycle commuting I have lost over 80 pounds and feel like I have been given a fresh lease on life.  I have even joined one of the local area Fire Departments as a volunteer firefighter, something that was physically not possible before I decided to saddle up.”

David says he wanted to save money on parking and tried the bus, but he kept missing it and having to wait a long time for the next one. (All of us New York commuters know about train delays!) When he saw someone hop on a bike, he knew he’d found his solution. So thanks to the anonymous cyclists who inspired David, and we hope he will inspire you to try biking, whether to work, the station or for your next errand around town.

Want some more inspiration? A bike commuter on average loses 13 pounds in the first year. (David is clearly above average!) A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour. And just three hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. (All this comes from Trek’s 1 world 2 wheels booklet, available from the WWBPA.)

And thanks, David, for your “before” and “after” photo! Also inspiring!

 

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A Sidewalk to Connect Two Shopping Centers

Wednesday, May 30 by silvia

Sidewalks are being installed along Route 1 between Nassau Park (home to Target, Wegman’s and other stores) and Windsor Green (Whole Foods and others), connecting Nassau Park to Canal Pointe and the rest of West Windsor for pedestrians (and bicyclists, we’d wager). The WWBPA wasn’t involved with this project, but the worn path through the grass is evidence that plenty of people were walking this route even without a sidewalk. We also heard several compliments about it, from both sides of Route 1. Here’s one; thank you, Beth Zeitler!

One of the great things about living in Princeton is that I can get around on my bike or by walking in addition to using my car.  It’s easy to get around the Boro on a bike or on foot, and even to get across Route 1 to Plainsboro to run errands, but often I’d like to head south along Route 1, including to the shopping centers off Meadow Road and Nassau Park Boulevard. I know a lot of other folks do the same, for shopping, dining and entertainment as well as for work. The D&R Canal trail can be used to get to the shopping centers, however because it is removed from the street, it is difficult to visit multiple locations, and hard to use at night or in poor weather conditions.

I’m glad they are putting a sidewalk between the shopping centers along Route 1 to make the trip easier and more convenient for folks like me who’d rather get out of the car and use a bike or my feet to run my errands. I’m even happier for the people who will now have a safer commute to work, especially folks who are traveling on bikes out of necessity rather than choice. Infrastructure improvements like this help keep our community moving forward.

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Celebrate Our Bicycle-Friendly Community on Saturday

Wednesday, May 23 by silvia

Bike Friendly Community West Windsor BronzeCome to Community Park on Saturday, when West Windsor will be honored during the BikeFest festivities for being New Jersey’s first bicycle-friendly community.

Jen Laurita will present the award on behalf of the League of American Bicyclists, a national non-profit organization that honored West Windsor with a bronze medal in September. BikeFest is one of the many reasons that the community was selected. Other criteria include educational events (such as BikeFest’s Bike Rodeo to teach good biking skills), infrastructure (the many bike lanes that have been added over the years) and government policies.

The award will be given around noon, after riders are back from their rides (anywhere from 1 ½ miles to 40 miles) and grabbing lunch and just as the DJ gets going and the kids take over the moon bounce and giant slide.

Stick around to applaud West Windsor! You also have a chance to win one of 10 $25 gift certificates from Halter’s Cycles on Router 1 in South Brunswick.

Not signed up for BikeFest? You can register here or on Saturday at Community Park. (Rain date is Sunday.) Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

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A “Learn to Bike” Class for Kids in June

Sunday, May 20 by silvia

The West Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance is holding its first “learn to bike” class of 2012 to get more kids off training wheels and enjoying the freedom of two wheels.

We use a safe and effective method that teaches kids to balance on their bikes without pedals or training wheels. Then the pedals go back on and we review how to start and stop. No clutching the back of the seat! Children generally learn pretty quickly, though they may need more practice with mom and dad the next day.  It works! We’ve already taught more than 700 kids. Watch the video from our first class!

This session is being held at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market on June 16 and is being offered to WWBPA members only. Kids can begin arriving at 9.m. and stay as long as they like, until the market closes at 1 p.m. The market is held at the Vaughn Drive commuter parking lot.

Not sure if your membership is current? You should have received an acknowledgment letter from us in the past year. Or ask, and we can check our records.

Preregistration via wwbikeped@gmail.com is required.

Bring a bike in good working order; kids should be able to touch the ground while seated. Helmets are required and can be purchased from the WWBPA for just $10.

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Ken Carlson Loses A Race!

Friday, May 18 by sandy

Somerville to Cambridge RaceBut that was a good thing. WWBPA Advisor and Past President Ken Carlson organized a bike advocacy event in his new hometown of Somerville, Massachusetts. The challenge was for a cyclist, a T-rider (subway), and an auto to race from Davis Square in Somerville to Kendall Square in Cambridge. Ken drove the car.

The cyclist finished first, in 20 minutes. The T-rider came in second, in 29 minutes. Ken drove the course in 32 minutes. (And yes, Ken usually bikes to work.)

New York City did the same contest this week (after all, it is National Bike to Work Week) and once again the bike won.  The cyclist traveled from Williamsburg to SoHo in morning rush hour in 15 minutes. The subway took 26 minutes and driving, 41 minutes.

As for West Windsor? Think how long it takes you to drive all the way around the station to the Vaughn Drive lot (unless you’ve been commuting so long that you have a Wallace Road permit) and to walk to the platform in the morning, and then to get out of the Vaughn Drive lot and over the roundabout on the way home. Your bike would be right by the tracks and probably would get you home in a similar amount of time, no sweating involved. And let’s not even think about the time you spend (or intend to spend) at the gym doing cardio. Then the bike will surely win!

Read more about Ken’s race at Metro.US and Boston.com, and tell us about your bike commute.

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Celebrate National Bike Month

Wednesday, May 2 by silvia

bike month 2012 logoMay is National Bike Month, and the week of May 13 is Bike to Work Week. A number of events are planned in West Windsor and neighboring communities; one (or more) is sure to be right for you. We’ve also included a few for walkers. (Note that not all events listed below are organized by the WWBPA)

May 5: West Windsor Walks to the opening day of the farmers’ market. Join us at 8:50 a.m. in the parking lot at the back of Maurice Hawk Elementary school for a leisurely stroll of just over a mile. We’ll start walking at 9 a.m. and are excited that the route this year will take us along some stretches of sidewalk that weren’t there last year. Kids will be challenged by a game of “I Spy.” People in wheelchairs and kids in strollers are welcome.

May 6: Bring your child (up to age 10) and bike to a free bike skills class at Plainsboro’s Founders Day. Princeton’s police department is sponsoring a separate bike skills class that includes a bike obstacle course on May 19; call 921-2100, ext. 1848 for details.

May 11-12: Adults aren’t being left out. This skills class, offered through the West Windsor Recreation Department, is for those who want to boost their confidence when riding on the road. Cost is $50, but the WWBPA will reimburse $25 of the cost for members. Plus we’ll cover the other $25 for the first five members who write a review of the class that we can use on our website.

May 12: Buy a bike at Bike Exchange in Ewing and get a free helmet from Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association. Learn more about this and other GMTMA events during National Bike Month here.

May 14-18: National Bike to Work Week. Register for a free T-shirt and a raffle with GMTMA.

May 15: Bikers Breakfast at the Princeton Junction train station, sponsored by the WWBPA and Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, starting at 6 a.m. Grab a drink and a snack on us. Want a bike locker? We’ll tell you how to get one.

Ride of Silence logoMay 16: The WWBPA is supporting one of three area Ride of Silence events to honor cyclists killed or injured on the roads. Meet at 6:45 p.m. in the Municipal Center parking lot; the silent one-hour ride will leave at 7 p.m. We will have a West Windsor police escort and a funeral hearse courtesy of Mather Hodge. We suggest you wear a black armband and turn on your front and rear lights. We will stick together for the entire 10-12 mile route. Last year, more than 12,000 cyclists took part in events around the world.

May 19: Tour historic Trenton with the Trenton Cycling Revolution. More information about this 15-mile ride and registration at www.trentoncycling.org.

May 26: BikeFest, West Windsor’s bicycling extravaganza, with rides for people of all abilities, from 1.5 miles to 40 miles. Register at www.westwindsorbikefest.com. Say “hi” to the WWBPA after your ride!

June 16: The WWBPA holds a free “learn to bike” class for kids who want to get off training wheels at the West Windsor Farmers’ Market. Watch the video of last year’s class. Note: This is a members-only event.

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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

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Now Accepting Applications for WWBPA Student Advisory Board

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